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Jill II 



THE LIBRARY OF THE 

UNIVERSITY OF 

NORTH CAROLINA 




THE COLLECTION OF 

NORTH CAROLINIANA 

FROM THE LIBRARY OF 

George M. Stephens 



C313 
T4.550 



<?>?'£ 



This book must not 
be taken from the 
Library building. 





MRS. ETHEL THOMAS 
(Becky Ann Jones) 






I 

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t 

I 



i 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

AND = 



} From Ball Room 

! to Weave Room 

BY = 

MRjS. ETHEL THOMAS 

The author has had seventeen years 
experience as a mill woman 

I - I 

? DEDICATED f 

i 
i 



Respectfully, Hopefully, and Prayerfully to the 

Superintendents of our Southern Cotton 

Mills, who are interested in the 

Physical, Mental and Moral 



{ Welfare of Our I 

1 Mill Boys f 

! I 

i ? 

i ? 



Mill News Publishing Company 

Charlotte, N. C. 



WASHBURN PRESS 



Copyright 1914 

h 

Mrs. Ethel Thomas 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 



CHAPTER I. 



"Dilsie, I knows des how you feels. I doan lak de new 
mistis, nuder. She got de debil in her bigger'n a mule." 

Uncle Mose, little, old. wrinkled and gray, rose from his 
seat in the cabin door, cast one long lingering look toward the 
"big house" a short distance away and heaved a troubled sigh. 
Aunt Dilsie was dishing out supper and deposited the viands on 
the table with a vim that emphasized her wrath. Her round 
fat face, which usually shone with good nature and satisfaction, 
was now stamped with hearty disapproval. Her turbaned head 
was held high, but there was a suspicious moisture in her soft 
black eyes which she tried slyly to wipe away with the corner 
of her snowy aporn. Uncle Mose watched her furtively as he 
sat down to the table. Presently her wrath exploded : 

"Hit's enough to make de dead turn ober in dey graves! 
Here we's bin cookin' an' a milkin' an' a pidlin aroun' at de 
big house nigh on to fifty year, an' dis am de fus' time we's 
been tol' we mus'n eat in de white folks kitchen. We stayed wid 
old Marse an' old Mis' LeGrande Ion' as dey live. We nussed 
Marse Henry, an' stayed right on wid him 'twel he married, an' 
right on 'twel de purty Misits died, an' right on 'twel now he's 
got a nuder won. All dese years me an' you'se been eatin' our 
supper in de kitchen an' wuz welcome. Now, here dis new 
'oman — she low she ain't gwine to put up wid no sich, an' she 
raked de scraps frum 'round de plates, an' chunked 'em all to- 
geder in a tin bucket an' said I cud bring 'em on home an eat 
'em. Yah! Des same es we wuz hawgs. Den she got down, 
she did, an' rite dar she sot 'twel I got de dishes washed; den 
she 'low I cud go, now, an' she wood lock up. Des erbout tole 
me she wuz skeered I'd steal sumpin. If it wern't for lil Marse 
Jack, po' lil mortherless lam' — we'd leave dis place." 

"j-- "Dilsie," said Uncle Mose, as he gulped down his victuals, 

^» "duz you 'member how de yong mistus charged us 'fore she died 

fcv to look ater her chile?" 
^x 

Oo 



6 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

"Deed I duz. Hits on my min' night an' day. An' we's 
gwine ter stick to our lil Marse Jack, too, dat's what we is. I 
'specks dat's gwine ter mean more'n we know about ,too, Mose — 
stickin' to dat chile." 

"Yah ! I dun see a vision of de trubble dat's a comin'. Dat 
blasted stuck-up son of de new Mistis gwine ter be peckin' on our 
lil lam' all de time. Marse Henry, shore to de Lawd, wuz plum 
crazy when he married dat brack-eyed widder nohow," said 
Uncle Mose. 

"Dat 'oman ain't no common critter. She des put a spell 
on Marse Henry," declared Aunt Dilsie. "I bin a watchin' her 
tricks. She rolls dem brack eyes o' hern at him an smiles kinder 
deblish, an' bress de Lawd ! she des twists him 'round her finger 
lak he wuz a string. She don't like lil' Jack, but Marse Henry's 
so carried away wid her, he can't see it. An dat preshus 
'Arthur' of her'n is already a peckin on our chile, an dey ain't 
been here but free weeks!" 

"An' I tell yo' right now, Dilsie, if he don't stop dat de 
ground's gwine ter be pawed up with de happenins." 

"Humph!" sniffed Aunt Dilsie. "Stop yo' no sense talk an 
eat yo' suppah. Yo' ain't gwine ter do nuffin and yo' knows it." 

"Don't speckerlate on dat, ole 'oman. I ain't gwine ter take 
no foolishness from dat deblish 'oman's brat. It ain't right fo' 
a big strong healthy twelve-year-old boy to be peckin on our 
lil delicate Marse Jack what ain't but ten. If he gits to 'posin 
on dat chile, I goes straight to Marse Henry an' axe him to stop 
it." 

"Yeh! dat's what yo'll do is it?" snorted his wife. "Ain't I 
done tole yo' she gwine to rule dis here whole plantation an 
Marse Henry throwed in? You go to him wid yo' tales about 
things consernin dat 'oman an he'll send us a hikin offen dis 
place." 

Mose looked incredulous, and he stared at Dilsie in amaze- 
ment. 

"Dilsie, duz yo' reckin dat would shorely happen? Duz yo' 
'spose dat 'oman could turn Marse Henry again us as has nussed 
him when he wuz a baby?" 

"I doan 'reckin nuffin. I knows it. He's des crazy 'bout her 
and she'll do des es she pleas 'bout anything." 

Uncle Mose sipped his coffee in silence while his old features 
took on a more serious expression. A sudden foreboding made 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 7 

him shudder. He leaned across the corner of the table and laid 
a trembling hand on his wife's arm and half whispered : 

"Ole 'oman, do you 'spose she'll git all dis here property 
dat rightly 'longs to lil Jack, and he git nuffin?" 

"I done tole you dat she'll do des as she pleases 'bout any- 
thing," retorted Aunt Dilsie, as she left the table and walked to 
the front door of the cabin and looked out toward the "big 
house." 

It was June. Around her clean, well-kept yard, was a 
border of old-fashioned flowers in riotous profusion and gor- 
geous coloring — marigolds and zinias of every variety, mixed 
with bachelor-buttons and what she called "purty-be-nights" — 
and in each "square" a bed of scarlet verbenas. 

The "big house," a handsome colonial building, half hid- 
den by magnolia and crepe myrtle trees, was about two hundred 
yards distant and from there the sweet odor of June roses and 
fragrant honeysuckle filled the air. 

"He's comin' — bless his lil hart," said Aunt Dilsie. "He 
lonesomer den ever now — po' chile," and she turned back into 
the cabin, and commenced to hurriedly clear the table. 

Presently a slender, blue-eyed, golden-haired boy and large 
dog came to the door. 

"Come right in, honey," said Uncle Mose, drawing up one 
of the two pretty willow rockers that had been a Christmas 
present from Jack's mother several years back, and were the 
pride of this old couple. 

"Duz yo' want suppah, honey?" asked Aunt Dilsie. 
The boy turned troubled eyes toward her, and said: 

"No, thank you, Auntie. But have you had any? Oh! if 
Mamma could be here and see how things is a going. Auntie, 
it's a shame the way you was insulted. I told Papa about it — 
and — and — " but here the child choked and stopped. 

"Doan you be pestered honey — dat wuz alright. Me an' 
Mose is a gwine ter enjoy settin down to our own table," and 
she gave Mose a warning glance. 

"Yeh! Dat's what,' 'added Mose. "We shore did enjoy our 
suppah. Seem des lak we wuz newly married an des gone to 
housekeeping — ha! ha!" Jack's face brightened: 

"I'm so glad you didn't mind," he said, evidently much 
relieved. "Papa says he can't meddle with Mis' Florence's 
affairs and said you would understand." 



8 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

"Yes, in course we duz, chile, an' doan you be worrit," 
answered Aunt Dilsie. "Everybody's got dey own noshuns an' 
dey own way of doing-. Me an' Mose hain't neber been bossed 
'round lak slave niggers — not even in slavery times. But if 
it comes to dat now, we hain't got no kick — we ain't got long 
to live no how, an' we can be happy on de has beens," she 
chuckled. 

Jack looked at his old nurse half doubtfully, but both she 
and Uncle Mose broke into a hearty laugh, and he did not reply. 
The big dog squatted by the boy, laid his head on his master's 
knee and looked lovingly into his face. 

"Joe has learned another trick to-day," smiled Jack, strok- 
ing the dogs head. Joe acknowledged the compliment by wag- 
ging his tail. 

"De land sakes! Ain't dat dawg got sense? What he 
done gone an' larnt now, honey?" asked Uncle Mose, glad to 
turn the lad's thoughts into more pleasant channels. 

"Dat de finest dawg in de country. He orter be in de 
cirkis," declared Aunt Dilsie, determined that Mose should not 
offer all the compliments. "What yo' larnt him now, chile?" 
Jack bent and looked lovingly into the dogs eyes and said: 

"Joe, what would you do if me and you had to part?" For 
answer, the dog fell to the floor, groaned and stretched out stiff, 
his eyes closed, and he was to all appearances dead. 

"De Lawd hab mussy!" exclaimed Aunt Dilsie, while Uncle 
Mose gazed with twitching lips and blinking eyes at the silent 
form. 

"I think I'd die, too, without Joe," said Jack softly, with 
tears in his eyes. Then to the dog, as he knelt beside him. 

"Joe as long as me and you both live we will stick together." 
Instantly the beautiful dog sprang up and barked joyously, as 
he capered about the room. 

"Jack," called a voice from the yard. 

"That's Arthur hunting me," his whispered. Then he called 
out: 

"Come in Arthur, and Uncle Mose will tell us some war 
tales. He knows a lot of good ones." 

"Thanks," came the curt answer. "I don't visit niggers. 
Mother thought you were out here and asked me to call you 
in. It's bed time for little boys, so come on." 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 9 

"I'm a good mind to sic Joe on the mean, ill-mannered 
thing," he muttered. "Joe would do him up a job if I said so." 

"We doan mine bein' called 'niggers' honey — dat's alright — 
dat's what we is," grinned Mose bravely, while Aunt Dilsie 
added: "I spec it am getting' late, chile, an' Mis' Florence is 
skeered de night air ain't good fo' you. An' den, 'Arly to bed 
an' 'arly to rise make de boys healthy, wealthy an' wise, you 
know. So jes be a good boy an' mine yo' pa and Mis' Florence 
an' eberting come out alright honey lam'. So g'long home to 
yo' rest mah chile, an' trus' in de Lawd," and her old toil worn 
hand rested lovingly on the boys golden curls as he passed out 
into the night. 

"Look here, boy. I heard what you said," commenced 
Arthur, "and if that dog ever looks like he wants to bite me, 
he had better be prepared for dog heaven." Jack made no 
answer. Fear for his dog's safety chilled his heart. 

Back in the cabin, the old darkies gazed at each other in 
dumb agony. 

"We dun right, anyhow, Dilsie," whispered Mose. "We 
hain't got to let nuffin dat's done to us worry dat chile." 

"Dat's de truf, Mose. An' we mus'n let him know what 
we think ob de new Mistus. We's gotter 'pear lak we sides 
wid her eber time we kin. We gotter act de deceiber's part 
an' be hypocricks here in our ole age. We gotter be wise es 
sarpints an' harmless es doves, if we specks to stay here an' 
look atter lil Marse Jack," said Dilsie with conviction. 

When the boys reached the house, Arthur joined his 
mother and step-father in the sitting room, but Jack with Joe 
at his heels went upstairs without even a "goodnight" to anyone. 
The child was humiliated, crushed and filled with bitter resent- 
ment. His little heart throbbed violently and his cheeks burned 
with indignation. He felt all alone in the world. His father 
didn't share his big rocker now with him, or have him to talk 
with him occasionally. "Miss Florence" was always at his side 
petting and loving him into forgetfulness of his first love and 
keeping him so entranced with her bewitching ways that he 
cared for nothing else in the world. 

"Did dear little Jack come in?" asked Mrs. LeGrande of 
Arthur, as he entered the big cool room and found her sitting 
on the broad arm of her husband's chair. 

"Yes. He's gone upstairs," replied Arthur. 



10 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

"Without saying good-night to his papa? Oh, my dear," 
turning to Mr. LeGrande, "I am so troubled. Jack doesn't 
like me, I fear, and Arthur, who has never had trouble winning 
the effections of his associates, has so far found it impossible 
to win Jack." 

Mr. LeGrande rose from his seat, hurried into the hall 
and from the foot of the stairs called to Jack, who was at the 
head of the landing. 

"Son, come here." There was a touch of tenderness mixed 
with disappointment in his voice. Jack's heart rose in his 
throat, and he felt the coming of choking tears. He longed 
to rush into his father's arms, but wounded pride and bitter 
indignation held him back. He gripped the railing with tremb- 
ling hands and called softly, and f alteringly : 

"Papa, please, I don't want to see any one tonight — I — I — " 
Mr. LeGrande with anxious strides, mounted the stairs and 
stood by his child. The dim light in the hall revealed that Jack 
was white faced and that his blue eyes were red with unshed 
tears. 

"Jack, what is the matter with you?" in a speculative tone. 
"You are acting quite unreasonable, aren't you? Why do you 
shun your mother?" Jack winced. Never would he call her 
"mother," he vowed inwardly. "She is ready and anxious to 
do a mother's part by you and she is grieved because you seem 
to dislike her. My son, why do you hurt me like this?" 

"Papa, she ain't one bit like my pretty blue-eyed mamma — 
how can I like her? — And — and she and Arthur treat Uncle 
Mose and Aunt Dilsie same as if they were dogs — and they 
are my best friends — now. You don't love me like you did before 
she come between us — I ain't got nobody now, but Uncle Mose 
and Aunt Dilsie and Joe," wailed the child, his head bowed on 
the railing, and his body quivering. When his name was men- 
tioned Joe barked in sympathy, and shoved his head under 
Jack's arms, and kissed him on the cheek. 

Dear me," came the voice of "Miss Florence" from the 
hall. "Didn't I hear the dog upstairs? The house will be full 
of fleas." 

"I'll bring him down presently, dear," called her husband. 
Jack threw his arm around Joe's neck. 

"Papa, let him stay with me. He can lie on the rug — he's 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 11 

clean and nice — you know he is — and he ain't got a flea on him. 
Please, papa, — I'm lonesome." 

"Jack, don't be so foolish." Mr. LeGrande was hurt, and 
resented the accusation of his son. Of course he loved him 
the same as ever. But Jack was getting- to be quite a puzzle. 
He didn't understand the heart-hunger and longing for love and 
sympathy, that made the child appear sullen, morose and ill- 
tempered. 

"Kiss me good-night son, and try to understand. You 
know I love you just as I always did — but your conduct of late 
is dreadful and terribly disappointing. Have some consideration 
for my feelings and wishes. It is foolish and ungrateful of you, 
to resent the advances of your mother and Arthur. We can 
all be so happy together if you will only be rea'sonable and act 
sensibly. I was pleased with the thought that you would find 
pleasure in the companionship of a bright, healthy boy." 

"Papa, I don't think you understand," said Jack, kissing 
him good-night, and bravely steadying his faltering voice. 

"I understand every one, I think, but you, Jack," his father 
answered. "Of late, you are incorrigible and incomprehensible, 
and you are making our home life miserable for all concerned," 
sadly. And Mr. LeGrande went down, taking Joe with him, 
leaving poor Jack more bitter and rebellious than ever. 

Presently he heard Arthur coming up stairs whistling 
merrily and heard him enter his room across the hall. Jack 
wondered how he could be so gay, and felt that he, himself, who 
never sang or whistled, must in reality show up to terrible dis- 
advantage in contrast. Long and late he pondered and resolved 
to do his best to keep his father's affection. He would do any- 
thing, except to call "Jier" "mother." 

CHAPTER II. 

The LeGrande plantation was in Montgomery county, North 
Carolina, and many of its fertile acres lay along the banks of 
the Pee Dee river. The country was not thickly settled, but 
for miles around was owned by just a few wealthy planters. 
The "neighbors" had all called to welcome the new mistress 
of LeGrande Heights, but none of their visits were returned 
and social intercourse ceased. 



12 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

The only school in the neighborhod was a four months' 
public school, taught after crops were gathered, and during 
the coldest season of the year. Jack, who had always been 
delicate, had never attended. His invalid mother had taught 
him the little he knew. Deprived of her loving care at the tender 
age of eight, he was then allowed to do pretty much as he 
pleased, his father being kept busy superintending his big farm 
and looking after his cattle. Aunt Dilsie kept the big house 
tidy, did the cooking and "minded lil' Jack." 

In those days the sturdy farmers of Montgomery county 
thought very little of "book learning." That education was 
absolutely essential to success never entered their minds. To 
know how to raise corn, cotton and cattle was the one and 
only important consideration with them. 

Henry LeGrande was a fairly well educated man for those 
days, but well liked by his more illiterate neighbors. When he 
had returned from a business trip to Danville, Virginia, bring- 
ing with him a wife so highly educated, so brilliant and "proper" 
that they were really miserable in her presence, they wondered, 
shook their heads gravely and then stayed at home. 

Two years had passed, Uncle Mose and Aunt Dilsie were 
still the kitchen servants, quiet and unobtrusive, humble and 
faithful, but ever under the watchful eye of Mis' Florence, 
who seemed suspicious of everyone. Mr. LeGrande, busy early 
and late superintending his big farm, saw very little of Jack. 
The child, frozen by the polite coldness of his step-mother and 
teased and ridiculed by Arthur, rarely sat at the table with the 
others. Aunt Dilsie managed to fix nice little bag lunches for 
his dinner so that he might play on the river with Joe or fish 
all day long, if he wished, without becoming hungry. Mis' 
Florence knew of this but raised no objections. It suited her 
exactly, for the child to stay out of sight and away from his 
father, while Arthur made himself useful to "papa" and often 
sat besides him in the buggy as he drove through the plantation. 

Mis' Florence always looked grave and troubled when JacK 
was mentioned or when he was near, if in the presence of her 
husband. When his father was not in sight or hearing, Jack 
had felt the lash of her sharp sarcastic tongue, and had qualied 
before the fierce gleam in her coal black eyes. 

But he never carried tales to his father or nurse. He 
would die rather than be what Aunt Dilsie called a "tattle tale." 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 13 

Arthur knew this, and at every chance teased him unmerci- 
fully, delighting to see Jack in a "tantrum." He had a high 
temper and could give what Arthur called "interesting exhibi- 
tions." Arthur never lost his self-control. He was always calm, 
cool and deliberate, and could say the most aggravating things 
in a smooth, well modulated tone of voice, that greatly irritated 
the high-strung nerves of passionate, sensitive Jack. 

Joe was Jack's inseparable companion, and often quivered 
and snarled in disapproval of the treatment bestowed on his 
master. But, through love of his dog and because he feared for 
the dog's life, Jack had never let Joe "have a hand" in any of 
his quarrels with Arthur. 

One evening, "Mis' Florence" had a serious talk with her 
husband. It was just two years after her arrival at the farm. 
They were seated on the broad front porch and the odor of 
June roses and honeysuckles made the night air fragrant. 

"Dearest," she said, "I have been here two years now, and 
have been happier than ever in my life." 

"Happier than with your first love?" asked her husband, 
tenderly stroking her plump white hand. 

"Oh, Henry! I never knew what love was until I met you. 
I think I never really lived before. How good you are. How 
noble and generous. Tell me, have I been a good wife — and — 
and mother?" 

"My own," he anwsered. "You have made me very happy. 
The only trouble I see is about Jack. He seems to care abso- 
lutely nothing for any one, except his black mammy, Mose and 
Joe. I don't know what to do with him." She answered with 
a sigh: 

"He and Arthur don't get along together at all. He dis- 
likes me as much as ever, though I've tried so hard to win 
his love." Here her voice trembled and for a moment she laid 
her head on his shoulder. 

"Yes, dear, I know you have tried. He's a strange child. 
Who could help loving you?" and he tenderly kissed his wife's 
cheek. 

"Henry, perhaps if we separate the boys it will be better 
for both." Mr. LeGrande caught his breath at the thought of 
sending Jack away. Where could he send him? There was no 
relative interested enough to undertake the care and responsi- 
bility of the child. 



14 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

"Henry, dear," she chided, "why do you shudder? You 
surely don't think I mean to send your child from home? — that 
delicate, sensitive child? No, we will send Arthur away. We 
can place him in school somewhere, and — and — " 

"Flora! Would you send your child away?" gasped the man 
in astonishment. 

"He is strong and brave, and would go willingly," she con- 
tinued — "gladly, I'm sure, should I explain to him why. Then, 
too, Arthur ought to be in school. He was so far advanced that 
I thought two years of rest in the country would do him more 
good than to continue in school. I don't think Jack could bear 
the confinement of the school room. His health would not 
permit it. I think he is getting stronger, though, than he was, 
and if he would only eat his meals regularly, am sure that he 
would gain in health and strength more rapidly. Really, dear, 
I want to send Arthur away, and try the experiment. Shall we?" 

"I shall miss him terribly," he replied. "He is very dear 
to me. How I wish Jack was like him." 

The woman's dark eyes shone with satisfaction. A gentle 
rustle in the honeysuckle vines at the end of the porch, made 
her start a little. She knew that Arthur was listening. 

"I'm so glad Arthur is a comfort and pleasure to you," 
she replied softly. "He never loved his own father as he 
loves you." 

"Humph! I guess not," mentally ejaculated the eaves- 
dropper. "Daddy Mason didn't have a bank account or anything 
else that was any account — wasn't any account himself. But 
ain't mother a peach. Gee! If she hadn't roped old soft head 
we'd both be in Dan River Cotton Mills right now." 

It was decided that Arthur should enter school at Greens- 
boro in September and from then on he did everything possible 
to show his love for "papa" and to make himself almost indis- 
pensable to the man's comfort. At every safe opportunity he 
teased Jack and played all kinds of cruel jokes on him. 

Late one afternoon about the middle of July, Arthur and 
Bud Ingram, a neighbor boy who had come to spend the night 
with him and "eat watermelon" went into the barn. Uncle 
Mose, who was in the loft looking for eggs, heard them talking. 
Hearing Jack's name mentioned he placed his hands to his ears 
and listened. 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 15 

'That blasted dog might get us," objected Bud. "He'd do 
anything for Jack. He's mighty nigh human, that dog is." 

" Darn the dog! Oh, I'll borrow him from Jack to hunt 
,muskrats tonight. Then I'll shut him up and we'll be safe. 
I'd kill the brute but I'm afraid to," said Arthur. 

"Now, what am dat young debil a plottin again mah chile?" 
wondered Uncle Mose. "Guess I'll put a spoke in dat wheel 
when it gins to roll," he thought, and again strained his old 
ears to understand the conversation. 

"What makes him set his hooks over on the island? Is it a 
better place than on the main bank of the river?" asked Bud. 

"Guess so — he certainly does catch the fish. We have 'em 
all the time and I know he supplies his old nigger mammy's 
table, too. Now, we must get over there before he does. He 
goes about 9 o'clock when the moon rises. We'll hide our boat 
so he can't find it, and while he's busy with his hooks, we'll 
take his boat and leave him on the island, and he'll have to 
stay there all night." 

"He's mighty little for us to play a joke on like that, and 
I'd hate awful to be caught at it," replied Bud. Arthur ignored 
the first objection and exclaimed: 

"We won't get caught. And if he cuts up too bad after 
being left, why we'll be muskrat hunting and hear him after 
awhile and will rescue him. It's no bad idea to do a good turn 
for a fellow and place him under obligations." 

"You're a sharp one," laughed Bud. "But where is the 
colt you wanted to show me?" 

"It must be in the pasture with it's mother," said Arthur. 
'It's not in the stall, I see," and the boys went out. 

When he thought it safe, old Mose came down from the 
loft, his little eyes snapping wrathfully. 

"So dat's what dey 'low to do to mah lil' Jack. Yah ! I'll 
fix dem brats," and he hurried home to consult with Aunt 
Dilsie. 

Presently, Jack and Joe came along and stopped in the 
yard. Jack sat down on a bench and listened to Uncle Mose 
as he told what he had heard in the barn. 

"They shan't have Joe! I'll take him with me and what's 
more I'll sic him on 'em," Jack declared. 

"Now, honey, you listen to me an' we'll des turn de tables 
on dem pow'ful funny brats. You des let 'em have Joe to hunt 



16 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

mus'rats — dat's all rite! An' you go long to yo' fishin' des as 
yo' allers does. We's gwine ter fix 'em." 

Then Mose and Dilsie unfolded a plan that made Jack 
almost scream with laughter, and his blue eyes danced while he 
thought of the fun that was promised. 

"Sh ! Dem brats is a comin' crost de cotton patch dis away 
now," warned Aunt Dilsie. "Dey bin stealin' our watermelions 
lak as not." 

"Want a melon, nigger?" laughed Arthur as he and Bud 
came around the cabin, and he rolled a small one on the ground 
toward Uncle Mose. 

"Yes, sah ! an' thankee," answered the old darkey. "I hain't 
felt lak going to mah patch today." 

"I smell something good cooking," remarked Bud, sniffing 
the air. 

"Yes, sah, hit's fish what lil Jack gin us," replied Aunt 
Dilsie with a low courtesy. He shore do ketch dem things. But 
I wish he wouldn't set his hooks away off dar on de island whar 
dat 'oman got kilt durin' de war. I speck he gwine ter see her 
sperit walkin' on de water sum o' dese nights an' be skeered 
purty night to death." Jack laughed: 

"If I see her, Aunt Dilsie, I'll ask her to take a ride in 
my boat." 

Arthur looked at the boy in amazement. He had never 
seen him so animated. He supposed old Mose had been telling 
Jack some funny and interesting yarns — and indeed he had. 

The two boys presently started toward the big house, and 
as if it was an after thought, Arthur turned back and spoke 
pleasantly to Jack : 

"Say! Bud and I want to hunt muskrats tonight. Will 
you lend us your dog? We'll take good care of him." 

"Why, yes, of course, you may have him," replied Jack. 

"I'd ask you to go along, too, kid, but we're going too far 
and through too rough places for you," said Arthur. "Have 
Joe up at the house by dusk. We want to go soon as we can 
get supper," and Arthur hurried on atfer Bud. 

Joe looked at Jack as if comprehending every word and 
wagged his tail. 

"Yes, Joe, it will be alright," smiled the boy, patting the 
dog's head. "But I'm sorry you'll not be there to see the fun." 
Then he turned to Dilsie : 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 17 

"Get early supper for 'em, Auntie, so they won't have to 
wait," he laughed. 

"Dat's what, honey. I'se gwine right now soon es I take 
up dem fish fur Mose's suppah." 

"Yah! ha! ha!" laughed Mose, "an you g'long, too, honey, 
an' be jolly an soshable to dem boys whilst I fix fur bizness. 
An' doan yo git skeered at nuffin yo' see on dat island dis night. 
But, I tells you right now, lil Marse, dars gwine ter be sumpin 
doin! Somebody gwine ter rip fru dem bramble boo briars 
mighty reckless an' gwine ter call on de rocks an de mountings 
to come over an squash 'em! Yah! Dar's gwine ter be weepin' 
and wailin' an' smashin' ob teef !" Dilsie and Mose both laughed 
long and heartily, pleased to see that they were joined by Jack. 

Never, during the two past years had the boy been so happy. 
The spirit of retaliation was strong within him. He would 
get pay now, all at once, for what he had suffered at Arthur's 
hands. If it turned out as he anticipated he felt like he could 
forgive the past and start over again. 

Jack, Joe and Dilsie went to the "big house," and while 
Dilsie finished her work there, Uncle Mose found some pieces 
of hemp rope about two feet long, untwisted and combed them 
out, then made a stiff flour paste as he chuckled to himself and 
waited for Dilsie to return. 

She soon came, and with many grunts of satisfaction the 
hemp combings were securely fastened to his wooly head and 
a long glittering string of glass beads was wound around the 
wonderful head dress. Then the paste was spread over his black 
face, and by the light of the candle, Mose was a sight to send 
the creeps over any one. 

Dilsie then rolled a pair of white stockings and a white 
night gown into a bundle, which Mose tucked under his arm 
and then stole from the back door across the cotton patch 
through the rank bottom corn and to the river. Soon he was 
in his boat which he kept securely hidden in the tall grass and 
cat-tails which grew on the river bank, and with rapid, noise- 
less strokes he reached the island and with all the cunning of an 
Indian, again hid his little boat. 

Then hiding in a thicket of honeysuckles and grapevines, he 
waited and watched. Nor had he long to wait. Bud and 
Arthur soon came and landed several yards above the usual 
landing and carefully hid their boat. 



18 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

Laughing and talking in a low tone they made their way 
through the tangled underbrush, passed by old Mose and went 
across the little island to where Jack's basket and hooks were set. 

"Dey's gwine ter steal de chile's fish!" growled old Mose. 
"Well, des let 'em !" and he slipped out of his hiding place, hur- 
ried to where the boys had hidden their boat, jumped into it, 
carried it fifty yards further up the river, ran it into a big 
bed of water lillies and fastened it to a projecting root. 

Hurrying back he hid in the thicket, put on his "robe" and 
run his hands into the white stockings, and was ready for 
business. 

Presently Jack came, and as he went across the island 
softly whistling, the two boys each carrying a nice string of 
fish, stolen from Jack's basket, ran into the low bushes. 

"Let's scare him!" whispered Arthur, and at once let forth 
a long, mournful wail, just as Jack pulled up his basket. A 
few yards back of our two boys, came an answering wail, 
louder, prolonged and blood curdling. 

"Gee! What was that?" gasped Bud, catching Arthur by 
the arm. 

"Darned if I know!" answered the boy, his teeth chatter- 
ing and his heart pounding wildly. Jack threw the empty 
basket back into the river, straightened, turned and called 
out in a clear, steady voice: 

"Is that you Lady Ghost? Try it again!" 

"Gosh! Hain't he got nerve?" whispered Bud, his hair 
rising. Again came that awful cry as of a lost soul, and the two 
boys, still clinging to their fish, dashed pell mell through the 
thick undergrowth toward Jack's boat that was pulled up on 
the pebbles in the pale moonshine. 

"Oh, my soul! Run, Bud, run! Let's get away from here 
quick!" groaned Arthur catching a glimpse of something white 
just ahead of them. 

"Are we going to leave Jack here with that?" gasped Bud, 
his face pale as death and his eyes bulging. 

"Oh, come on, or I'll leave you with him," wailed Arthur. 
That settled Bud's conscience, and he had no trouble keeping up 
with his friend. 

Just as the boys were about to enter the boat a tall white 
form with glittering crown and long flowing yellow hair silently 
confronted them, and slowly raised a slim white hand and pointed 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 19 

up the river. "Cowards! Thieves! Beware!" came a sepul- 
charl whisper. 

"Oh Lord! The Ghost!" screamed Arthur. 

"It shore is!" wailed Bud and dropping their fish, both 
boys dashed for their own boat, tearing through brambles and 
hawthorn bushes, falling to their knees as they were tripped 
by the vines, while right behind them came that terrible ghost, 
silently but threateningly. 

"Heaven help us ! our boat is gone !" wailed Arthur. "Yes, 
gone!" half crying. 

"Sh! So is the ghost!" whispered Bud trembling. "Arthur, 
let's get Jack to take us back! We'll have to ! We'll just have to 
tell him all about it and beg for mercy." 

"No! No! we can't do that — let's swim back?" said Arthur, 
but he followed Bud back towards Jack's boat, his knees tottering 
under him and threatening to give way. They were about to 
call to Jack as he came toward his boat, but what they saw 
froze the blood in their veins and struck them dumb. 

The ghost was there and beckoned to Jack. Jack silently 
followed it to where the boys had dropped the fish. The ghost 
pointed to the fish and Jack stooped and picked them up. Then 
it pointed up the river and let forth a warning cry that almost 
made Arthur and Bud faint with terror, and their hair to 
stand on end. 

Jack returned to his boat and the ghost followed. 

"Will you ride with me, Lady Ghost?" called Jack as he 
entered his boat! 

And to the joy of our heroes, who were left behind, the 
white form silently entered the boat and sat down. Jack pad- 
dled away, and when about half way across, the white thing 
rose to its feet uttering a wail of despair and the trembling 
boys saw it leap with a great splash into the water and sink to 
rise no more. 

"Thar now!" Mose whispered. "It wuzn't in de progrom fer 
me to sink Dilsie's night gown, but Pse gone and done it! 
Glad you had dem rocks in de boat!" 



CHAPTER III. 

"Now, what'll we do?" wailed Bud. "You've got me into 
a purty mess ! That spirit'll be back here directly too !" Arthur 
stood straining his eyes after Jack. Terror made his heart 
quake. His tongue seemed paralyzed. His knees grew weaker 
and he sank limply to the ground. Finally, he whispered : 

"We won't dare to try to swim it, — that thing's between 
here and the bank ! Oh, Bud ! we are in a terrible fix." 

The moon rose higher and higher and grew brighter and 
brighter. The two boys huddled close together and conversed 
in low whispers. The lonely hoot of owls, the croaking of 
frogs and the occasional quivering notes of the screech owl 
made them almost shriek in agony. 

"And Jack wasn't one bit afraid! I can't understand that!" 
whispered Arthur in awe. 

"Of course not! He ain't got no call to be skeered of his 
mother's spirit," answered Bud. 

"His mother's?" questioned Arthur. 

"Yes, that shore was Mis' Evelyn. I've seen her many a 
time with her long yaller hair hanging down like that. She's 
watchin' over her boy. Say did you notice her starry crown?" 

"I reckon I did! Didn't it shine though? But, Bud, I 
thought spirits stayed around where their bodies were buried," 
puzzled Arthur. 

"Not allers. Grandpa Ingram has seen his mother's spirit 
many and many a time. It alters comes to him if he's about 
to git in trouble, no matter where he happens to be. Take it 
from me, Arthur, you'd better stop playing jokes on Jack if 
you don't want to be hanted," declared Bud. Arthur said noth- 
ing. He was dumb with fright and misery. Presently Bud 
asked : 

"Won't your folks get uneasy and hunt us? It must be 
purty near midnight !" Arthur groaned : 

"No they will all go to bed and sleep and never miss us till 
morning! They will find Joe shut up and oh! what sort of a 
tale can we get up? We must never tell a soul what has 
really happened," 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 21 

Now, we will leave our two crest-fallen adventurers and 
return to Mose and Jack. 

When they reached the bank and landed in the dark shad- 
ows, Jack, convulsed with laughter, rolled on the ground, kicked 
up his heels and conducted himself after the manner of a real 
live healthy boy. Mose, too, was writhing like an eel: 

"Golly! I'm 'ginin to think dis here am de bestest tonic 
you'se tuck yet! We'll des go into de sperit bizness bi de 
wholesale if it gwine ter put sum life in yo' lim's, an fill yo' 
full o' tickle lak dat ! I ain't neber had sich fun in awl mah 
bawn days. Ha ! ha a — a ! Honey, I des cum purty nigh bustin 
wide open when dem brats went rippin up de ribber frew 
all dem bramble boo vines hunting fur day boat which I done 
hid!" 

"Are we going to let them stay here all night, Uncle Mose?" 

"Shore we is! Wouldn't dey lef you dar all night all by 
yo' lil lonesome? Let 'em drink dey own cup to de dregs. Let 
'em taste de wumwood an de gall o' bitterness — it'll do 'em good, 
bress de Lawd! Make dey livers act!" 

Jack stopped in with Mose a few minutes to tell Aunt 
Dilsie about the fun, and it was one of the greatest pleasures 
of the evening to see her hold her fat sides and sway back and 
forth in uncontrolled mirth. 

"Dat ole gown wan't wuf much," she said, as Uncle Mose 
told how he had tied a rock in each sleeve and sunk it. Mose 
felt relieved. He had feared a scolding from his wife, but she 
was too happy over the results of the escapade, to care how 
it was conducted. And Jack's happy face and shining eyes would 
have paid for forty gowns, she declared. 

Jack went on home. Passing the barn he heard Joe whine, 
and opening the door, turned him out. The dog jumped around 
him joyously and followed him to the porch, where he offered 
his paw and barked in answer to Jack's "goodnight." 

"Jack, is that you?" called Mis' Florence. She and her 
husband slept downstairs. 

"Yes — this is Jack," he answered. 

"Have you seen Arthur and Bud Ingram?'' 

"They said they were going to hunt muskrats and I let 'em 
have Joe. But as I came from the river, I found Joe fastened 
in the barn," answered Jack, hoping that he could answer her 
questions without telling an untruth. 



22 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 



"i 



'I don't understand that. Jack, take Joe and get Uncle 
Mose, and see if you can find them. Oh, they may be drowned !" 
she wailed in distress. 

"Don't worry, Florence, it is only 10:30 — not late," 
soothed Mr. LeGrande, coming out in the hall. 
Then turning to Jack, who stood irresolute. 

"Go, son, and see if Joe will track them. Get Mose to go 
with you." And Jack hurried out to do as bidden. 

Mose laughed heartily: 

"Yah ! we'll see if we kin find any trace of the young genle- 
mens," he chuckled; and they went straight to the river, and 
had just time to hide in the undergrowth as a boat landed. 

"Hi!" whispered Mose. "Dey found de boat I reckin!" 

"Hush, Joe!" whispered Jack, his hand on the dog's collar. 
Then to Mose: "I don't know — there's three of 'em! Here 
they come! Sh!" Arthur, Bud and a young mulatto, Sam, 
who lived on the place came up the bank. Arthur was saying: 

"Sam, I won't forget this! We would have had to stay 
on the island all night if you hadn't heard us calling for help. 
But don't you ever dare to tell this. I wouldn't have the 'gover- 
nor' to know we lost his boat for anything." Sam promised to 
keep mum and struck across the field to his home near by, and 
then breaking into a terrified run, the boys made for the "big 
house.'' 

"We'll des take dat boat, now dis minite, an fly to de island 
an' bring in dem lost boats! Won't day be puzzled in de 
mawnin' to find dat boat hitched to de ol sycamo tree same as 
eber!" 

It only took a few minutes for them to row over and get 
the other boats. When they returned to the "big house" Mr. 
LeGrande informed them that the boys had come in and gone 
to bed. 

Again bidding Mose and Joe "good-night" Jack went to his 
room. He could see that a light was burning in Arthur's room 
and could hear the boys talking in low tones. 

He had retired when, with lamp in hand and followed by 
Bud, Arthur entered the room. He looked around as if expect- 
ing to see some one or something, then spoke, softly : 

"Jack, are you sleepy? We're not, and if you aren't we'll 
come in a little while,'' he said. 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 23 

"No, I'm not much sleepy," replied Jack, evenly, sitting up 
on the side of his bed. "Must have had pretty good luck 
hunting muskrats. You stayed out till your mother was uneasy 
about you," replied Jack. 

"Time flies like forty when you get busy hunting," grin- 
ned Bud. "Did you have good luck? — catch many fish, Jack?" 

"Best luck I ever had," replied Jack. Then turning to 
Arthur. I thought you wanted Joe to hunt muskrats? What 
did you shut him in the barn for?" 

"Oh — er — ah — we concluded not to take him," stammered 
the boy. 

Jack did not press the subject, and try as they would, 
they could get no satisfaction out of him concerning his trip 
to the island. Bud concluded to put a straight question, so 
he laughingly asked : 

"Did you see anything of the drowned woman's speret, that 
ole Dilsie spoke about?" 

"Did you expect I'd see it?" returned Jack. 

"Naw ! but say, kid, we was on the river bank and thought 
we saw something white over there on the island tonight — 
and — the moon was mighty bright and — we thought we saw 
the white thing get in your boat with you and — " 

"Maybe you did," replied Jack. "I saw it too. Somebody 
had stole my fish, but had dropped 'em. That white thing 
showed me where they was. I asked it to ride, just as I told 
Aunt Dilsie I would, and it got in the boat and sat down. 
When we were about half way the thing screamed and first 
thing I knew the white thing sailed into the water and went 
under." 

Arthur turned pale and began to tremble. Bud's teeth chat- 
tered and his eyes were wide. 

"Wasn't you skeered?" he asked in low, awed tones. 

"Not a bit," declared Jack. "What would I be scared for? 
I've never done anybody a harm." 

"Well, deliver me!" Bud ejaculated fervently. 

"No ghosts for mine!" added Arthur. "And I am not 
anxious to keep company with any one who is on such good 
terms with spooks and hants! Come on, Bud, and let's get out 
of here," and Arthur looked around the room as if expecting 
to see the "white thing." An innocent little mouse at that 
moment made a slight noise in the closet, and the boys rushed 



24 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

from the room not a little frightened, while Jack almost 
smothered himself with a pillow, to stifle his laughter. 

Arthur was a little more careful after that, about playing 
tricks on Jack, but teased him at every possible chance. 

A few days before Arthur went to school, he and his 
mother and father, went to Rockingham, presumably to get 
Arthur's school clothes. But in reality, Mr. LeGrande's busi- 
ness was to see a lawyer and make his will, something that 
his wife had urged for some time, declaring that it was a 
precaution that every one should take against the insecurities 
and uncertainties of life. 

A few days after Arthur had gone, "Mis' Florence" 
managed to corner Jack in the sitting room. She had just 
heard her husband enter the adjoining room and knowing that 
he could hear every word, she proceeded to talk to the boy. 

"Jack, dear, Arthur is gone, now, and I hope your father 
and I shall see more of you," she said in a fawning voice; 
but there was an unmistakable sneer on her lips and a banter- 
ing look in her eyes that belied her words. Jack wondered, 
but kept silent. She continued : 

"I am afraid my big, strong, healthy boy was too rough 
in his play sometimes, for a boy of your delicate mould. Was 
it not so?" tenderly. 

"I have never complained, have I?" returned Jack coldly. 
To save his life he could not like or trust his step-mother. She 
had repelled him from the very beginning. He was tired, too, 
of being called "delicate." 

"No, dear, but I have feared it was so. Jack, I sent my 
boy away for your sake. I want you to learn to love me as I 
love you : Won't you try? And, oh, I'd be so pleased — so would 
your dear father — if you would call me 'mother.' Won't you?" 
How very well she knew that he wouldn't ! 

"I can't do that," replied the lad in a hard strained voice. 

"Why can't you like me, dear?" plaintively, pleadingly, but 
with a devilsh smile on her lips. 

"Just because I can't" he blurted out. 

"Have Mose and Dilsie prejudiced you against me?" and 
she beamed in satisfaction as she saw that Jack was about to 
give an exhibition of his temper. 

"No, they have not," emphatically, the hot blood mounting 
to his fair cheeks. 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 25 

"Dearie, don't be cross — you don't know how I crave your 
love and confidence." 

Jack was about to make an impatient retort. He knew 
the value of her expressions. He was puzzled, though to know 
why she was talking thus, when his father was not there to 
hear. No childish heart ever craved love and sympathy more, 
but intuition warned Jack against his step-mother. 

"Let's kiss and be good friends," came the tender, caressing 
voice, but the tantalizing gleam in her eyes and the sneering 
curl of her lips filled Jack with fury. Angry tears filled his 
eyes. 

"Let me out of here!" he demanded, starting to the door, 
but she intercepted him and he backed away from her. 

"Oh, Jack, dear Jack! do be good!" 

Suddenly, like a flash of lightning, comprehension dawned 
on the child's mind. Dashing across the room he parted the 
curtains which hung between the two rooms, peeped in, and 
there saw his father. Turning, he faced his step-mother with 
flashing eyes and withering scorn : 

"I thought so!" he hissed between clenched teeth, and 
dashed past her and from the room. 

With a low moan, the woman sank into a chair and buried 
her face in her hands, her form quivering convulsively, while 
she listened for the approach of her husband. Presently, he 
stood by her side and stroked her bowed head: 

"Wife! Flora!" she sprang up looking' very much troubled 
and confused. 

"Oh, Henry! When did you come in?" 

"I heard every word, dearest. Don't worry — the boy is 
ungrateful and incomprehensible. But we have one son who will 
be a comfort to us. How glad I'll be when Arthur finishes school 
and comes home to stay ! Jack is a terrible disappointment to me. 
Just let him alone, dear — make no more humiliating advances. 
I can't bear to see you suffer so from his rudeness," he said sadly. 

Jack saw his father leave the house soon after, and followed 
him. His cheeks were red with resentment over the trick that 
had been played on him. His childish heart throbbed painfully. 
He knew that his father was grieved over his conduct. He 
wanted to set himself aright in his father's eyes — yet, how could 
he? Running, he caught up and took his father's hand, and 
looked up wistfully into his face. 



26 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

"Papa, don't be angry with me!" he pleaded. He got no 
reply. His father looked at him coldly, and impatiently with- 
drew his hand, and stopped in the shade of a large oak. 

"Papa!" cried Jack. "Oh, Papa, don't you care for me 
at all any more?" 

"Is your conduct such as will inspire love?" 

"Papa, you don't understand — you won't understand!" 

"I understand that you are ungrateful and very disrespectful 
to your step-mother. I heard you not more than an hour ago, 
and your curt, sharp retort, as she pleaded for your love and 
confidence — " 

"But, papa!" wailed Jack. "You don't know everything! 
Oh, don't be so hard on me?" 

"Now, young man, what is it that I don't know?" 

"Papa, I don't think Mis' Florence is a good — " 

"You don't think! That's no reason for your prejudice. 
Jack, and don't ever let me hear that again. Now, what else?'' 

Jack felt intuitively that he was on dangerous ground and 
changed the subject. 

"Papa, when am I ever going to school? You are going 
to make a fine man of Arthur." 

"And are you jealous? Is that the trouble? I'll send you 
to school when you get strong enough to bear the confinement 
of a school room. In the meantime try and improve your 
manners and disposition. Try to be more like Arthur." 

"Like Arthur? He is a coward, a sneak and a thief!" de- 
clared Jack. "I don't want to be like him !" 

"Jack! Take care!" 

"Well, he is!" stoutly. "He has pecked on me every time 
he got the chance all the time since he came here, and his 
mother knows it. She never tried to stop him, either! And 
he and Bud Ingram stole my fish and Uncle Mose's water- 
melons — even cut up some of his nicest ones just for pure down- 
right meanness!" 

"Oh, well, a live, wide-awake boy of Arthur's age is gen- 
erally getting into mischief. I never knew a boy who wouldn't 
steal a watermelon or rob a fish basket, and think it more 
fun than harm." 

"I wouldn't do it — I'll never do such things !" declared Jack 
hotly. 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 27 

"Henry, dear! may I go with you?" called "Mrs. Florence" 
sweetly, coming toward them with a large sunshade on her 
head, and looking -very charming in a dainty pink gingham 
dress. It was still quite warm, though the middle of September. 

"Certainly, wife, — glad of your company. Am just going 
down to the pasture to see after some new pigs," replied Mr. 
LeGrande, smiling as he turned to her. 

Jack heaved a sigh and walked away, wondering how it 
was that he never could have a talk with his father without 
being interrupted. 

The months rolled by and the breach between father and 
son seemed to grow wider and deeper. Jack was naturally 
jealous of his father's marked affection for his wife and thought 
with an aching heart of the delicate, blue eyed mother beneath 
the sod in the family burying ground, across the hill. Hardly 
a day passed that he and Joe did not visit her grave. The 
lonely child always felt comforted in this sacred spot, as if 
indeed his mother's spirit came to him whispering peace to 
his troubled heart. 

Arthur came home for Xmas, and again in June to spend 
vacation. He was developing into a tall, well proportioned 
youth, and would have been really handsome, but for the hard 
lines around his mouth and the mocking light in his black eyes. 
He delighted to tease Jack, when it was convenient and safe, 
and took especial pride in talking to him in such brilliant, 
high-flown language, that the child's ignorance was awful by 
contrast and made him seem almost idiotic. Jack, small, bare- 
footed and with overalls on, his pale cheeks, blue eyes and 
yellow curls shaded by a big torn straw hat, was quite a contrast 
in looks too, to this strong, robust lad in uniform, who was 
"too large to go barefooted." Jack, jealous of the difference 
and resenting the cause, kept more and more to himself, eating 
when and where he could, the bits of lunch fixed for him by 
the faithful Dilsie. 

Xmas had come the second time, and Arthur was again 
home for the holidays, looking still more elegant, with manners 
and conversation so refined and polished that even his mother 
was astonished. Mr. LeGrande waked up to the difference he 
was making in the two boys, and began to grow a bit thoughtful. 
Surely it was high time for Jack to be in school. Perhaps that 
was just what the lad needed to make him develop aright. He 



28 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

recalled the child's words when Arthur was sent away: "Papa 
when are you going to send me to school? You are going to 
make a fine man of Arthur." His heart smote him. He won- 
dered how it was that he had so long neglected his own child. 
Thoughts of his first love, the gentle Evelyn, came to him. He 
raised his eyes to her portrait that hung on the wall, and it 
seemed to him that there was a reproachful look in her big 
blue eyes. 

"Evelyn, forgive me!" he whispered, going and standing 
in front of the portrait, — "Forgive me, dear!" 

Just at that moment his wife entered the room. "Oh, 
Henry, come and see my Xmas cactus, it is blooming beautifully. 
Mose has jUst brought it in from the flower pit," and she 
slipped her arm in his and drew him from the room. 

That same afternoon, she and Arthur held a whispered 
conversation, snatching a few moments alone unnoticed. That 
night when all had retired, there was a terrible noise in the 
parlor, as of some heavy object falling. All the family were 
awakened. Mr. LeGrande rushed from his room and found 
Arthur in the hall. 

"What was that?" asked Mr. LeGrande. 

"Don't know — just ran down to see — was in my room read- 
ing; thought it was down here somewhere." 

Mr. LeGrade picked up a lamp from the hall table and 
entered the parlor just as Jack came rushing down. 

CHAPTER IV. 

"Ah !" cried Mr. LaGrande in dismay. "How could this have 
happened!" and he bent over his dead wife's portrait, utterly 
ruined by broken glass, as the wreck lay upon the floor. 

"Oh, my beautiful mama!" sobbed Jack, while Mr. Le- 
Grande gazed in anguish, mixed with awe and superstition 
on the torn canvass. 

"That means a death in the family," he at last whispered, 
as his wife came in with sweet words or sympathy and many 
expressions of sorrow. 

From that day the man became moody and silent. He had 
examined the cord from which the picture hung, and though 
not a detective, could see plainly that it had been cut. Who 
would wish to destroy the portrait? His wife did not do it, 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 29 

for she was sleeping peacefully by his side. He reproached 
himself for thinking of her in connection with the deed, yet 
he could not shake it from his mind. He recalled the gleam in 
her eyes as she led him away from the picture to see the cactus. 
He felt in his heart that there was a traitor in his household, 
yet he was ashamed of the thought. How could it be? 

* * * * 

Jack was highly elated when told that he should go to 
school the following September, and thanked his father with 
tears in his eyes. 

"Papa," he said, "I won't ever be as fine looking as Arthur, 
but I'll try to be a good man when I grow up, and — Papa — I 
don't tell lies — like Arthur does. He lied last night — he left 
his room and went down stairs before the — the accident to 
Mama's picture. He told you he was in his room reading 
when it fell. He lied!" 

"Hush; my boy, hush!" groaned the man. "Why should he 
have done such a thing? 

"I don't know, Papa, but I do know he lied. But that ain't 
nothing — he tells 'em every day. Papa that picture cord never 
broke by itself — it was cut. I looked at it good!" asserted the 
boy positively. 

"Jack ( say no more," commanded his father, amazed to 
learn that Jack too, was suspicious. 

When Arthur again returned to school, the ice slowly 
melted between father and son. Strange, that the wreck of 
the beautiful portrait should have drawn them toward each 
other. "Mis' Florence" ground her teeth in rage and dismay, 
as she saw the growing intimacy between the two, and realized 
that her power over the man was not so great as in the past. 
The fact was, he had accidentally overheard some of her cutting 
remarks to Jack once or twice, and was beginning to wonder. 

One night Jack had not come in. It was a beautiful moon- 
light night in May. Mr. LeGrande walked out to Mose's cabin 
and inquired for the child. 

"Lawsy massy! Ain't dat chile in bed?- Here it am 10 
o'clock!" exclaimed Aunt Dilsie, as she and Uncle Mose both 
got out of bed. 

"Speck he at Mis' Evelyn's grave ! He allers go dar when 
he in trubble!" declared Mose. 



30 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

"In trouble? What has he got to trouble him?" 

"Don't axe me nuttin Marse Henry, — 'corse he ain't orter 

had no trubble — poor little lam." 

"Mose! tell me this instant — what do you mean, demanded 

the man. 

"Marse Henry, you's done gone an axe me a hard ques- 
tion. I don't lak to tell tales. I — '' 

"Well! Shet up den' coward!" retorted Aunt Dilsie. Then 
she turned to Mr. LeGrande, determinedly: 

"Marse Henry, I'se wanted yo' to open yo' eyes er long 
time, an see fer yerself how dat chil's been treated fo' de las' 
four year. He's been pecked on by dat brat Arthur an nagged 
by dat 'oman twel de chile mighty nigh crazy sometimes. She 
been scoldin him today 'twel I mighty ni busted wif madness. 
An' he hain't done nuffin, ceptin bring er little mud in de house 
on his dead mudder's kyarpet! Yah! I'll tell yo' — dat chile 
jes a grievin he se'f to def ; dats what! Bet yo' right now he 
lyin' on his mudder's grave," 

Mr. LeGrande waited to hear no more, but ran across the 
field and over the hill to the family burying ground. In the 
moonlight, the tall cedars cast long dark shadows over the spot. 
But one grave was unshadowed — the grave of his dead wife. 
Across the mound lay Jack fast asleep, sobbing even yet, and 
heaving fitful sighs. By his side lay Joe, one paw thrown pro— 
tectingly over the body of his master. Joe raised his head at 
the approach of Mr. LeGrande, then wagged his tail in welcome. 

The man was about to gather the little form up in his arms, 
but stopped to listen : The lad was talking in his sleep : 

"Mama, what made you leave me? Come and get me, 
Mama ! I can't stay here ! She's mad 'cause Papa is loving me 
a little. Come and get me, Mama — I'm so lonesome!" Joe 
raised his head and howled a low, heartrending wail. Suddenly 
the man bent and stared across the grave. What was that 
white misty form gathering there in the shadows? Slowly it 
took shape in the man's fancy, and he saw a woman with golden 
hair and flowing robes, standing with arms outstretched to 
the child. Great beads of perspiration gathered on the man's 
forehead. 

"Oh, Evelyn, Evelyn, don't take him from me!'' he groaned. 
"Forgive me! Forgive me, for neglecting him!" He pressed 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 31 

his hands over his eyes, and when he looked again, he saw- 
nothing but the white tombstones. Again he felt the present- 
ment of coming trouble — felt that soon another grave would 
be made. Would it be Jack? Would his prayer be answered? 
Kneeling beside the boy he called him. 

"Jack, son!" then gathered him up in his arms, the child's 
damp curls against his cheek. The boy sighed, opened his 
eyes and threw his arms around his father's neck. Then: 

"Why, Papa! where am I? Oh! — " as he looked around 
and remembered. "She was with me tonight." 

"Who, my son?" 

"Mama! I didn't see her but I felt her — I know she was 
there." The man shuddered. 

"Jack, you will catch your death in the night air this way. 
Why did you do it? I was so frightened about you." Holding 
him closer. 

Half way to the house they met "Mis' Florence." "Why, 
Henry! what is the matter with the child? Is he dead? Why 
do you carry him?" she exclaimed. 

"He is not dead. I carry him to ease the ache in my heart," 
he answered curtly, and she wondered uneasily. 

Jack was quite feverish next morning. Had taken a deep 
cold. His father sent a negro on a fast horse to Rockingham 
for a doctor, while he sat by the bed and held the child's flut- 
tering hands, never for a moment leaving him. 

His wife, more uneasy over the attitude of her husband, 
than concerned over Jack's illness, hovered in the background, 
near enough to hear the child muttering in his delirium. She 
noted the white, stern face and compressed lips of her husband 
as he bent to catch the words, and trembled. Once he turned 
to her and groaned: 

"Oh, Flora, if he dies I'll never forgive myself — or you! 
Dear little heart — instead of coming to me with his troubles 
he would go to his dead mother and she comforted him! 

"I have been blind, but am beginning to see, and henceforth, 
I'll know my little one's troubles. God! he shall have none! 
Do you hear Flora?" with a determined gleam in his eyes that 
she could not mistake. 

"Yes, Henry, but I don't understand you." 

"Don't you ? Well, study it over, please, and when you have 
arrived at a conclusion, try to profit by it," coldly. 



32 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

"Henry, tell me plainly what you mean," demanded his wife. 

"I mean that no one shall make my child's life miserable. 
I've thought that he shunned us all because of some chilldish 
and unreasonable jealousy— that the fault was all his own. How 
little I understood !" 

"Henry, do you mean to insinuate that I have mistreated 
your child?''' and the low voice trembled. Her pretty hands 
were pressed to her heart and her black eyes, wide in pained 
surprise were full of tears, as she came and knelt beside him. 
"Heaven is my witness — I have faithfully tried to win his 
affections — I have never been unkind to him ! Oh — Henry, you 
have wronged me ! The child has never liked me, and has always 
misconstrued my motives in everything." 

"Joe, old boy!" murmured the boy, and the man turned 
from his wife and bent to listen, while the dog lying at his feet, 
rose hastily, whined and stood up, his paws on the bed, and 
no one objected. 

"Joe, old boy! Papa don't know, and we can't tell him. 
We mustn't be tattle tales. Poor Papa! Fix me a bag lunch, 
Mammy Dilsie, — Me and Joe will have a picnic in the meadow 
and feed the birds. We won't dirty her white table cloth, or 
bring any mud in the hall — we'll just stay out of the way, Joe — 
you and me." 

"Oh, God!" groaned the man in anguish, and "Mis' Florence" 
was so glad that the doctor came in at that time, and checked 
the words that rose to her husband's lips. The doctor glanced 
approvingly at the tearful woman as she rose from her knees, 
and thought that she certainly must be a most wonderful step- 
mother, to be so concerned over this sick lad. 

"Never mind, Joe, — old boy, we are going to school, me and 
you; and we are going to have uniforms, too! And we'll grow 
so big and strong they can't call us 'delicate' any more — and 
we'll always be good, Joe, just as Mama told me," continued 
the boy. 

The doctor sat down and began his examinatons. 

"Pneumonia," he said, very gravely. "But as we are on the 
job early, I think we can break it up by fighting hard. 

"Doctor, you must stay right here — you must not leave. 
Money is no object, now that my child's life is in danger." 

"But I have other patients — " 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 33 

"You shall not leave !" interrupted the father. "Write any 
instructions you please to your assistant— I'll send a negro 
with any message for you— you shall not leave my boy !" 

And the father had his way — the doctor stayed almost all 
the time. Even in delirium, Jack shrank as if frightened, from 
the touch of his stepmother, and tossed his head fretfully when 
she spoke to him in low, tender, caressing tones. 

"It is very strange that he becomes irritated when his 
mother is around," mused the doctor. "But, then, sick people 
have strange fancies, and it is often best to humor them." Then 
to Mrs. LeGrande: "It might be well for you to stay out of 
the room, madam, for a day or two, and let's see if he will 
become more quiet," said the doctor early one morning. 

"I don't see how I can bear to be banished, but will submit 
to anything for the dear child's sake," she murmured resignedly. 
"You will come to me often, and let me know how he is?" she 
pleaded, looking into the doctor's face with tear-dimmed eyes. 

"Certainly, madam," and the doctor led her to the door. 
"I'm sorry to send you out, but feel that I must humor my patient. 
You understand, dear lady, and will feel no resentment I know." 

"Do you think he will die?" she whispered when she had 
reached the door. "Must I send for Arthur to come home?" 

"I can't tell yet, dear madam, but, while there's life there's 
hope. No, don't send for your son." 

"No, indeed!" supplemented Mr. LeGrande. 

The lady made her way to the kitchen, where Aunt Dilsie 
was busy among pots and pans, her eyes expressing a dumb, 
helpless agony. Uncle Mose, too, was drooping in one corner, 
his gray head bowed in his wrinkled hands. Both faithful hearts 
were wrung with anguish. The falling of the portrait meant 
a death in the family, and each believed that little Jack would 
soon be lying by the young mother, whose memory he seemed to 
cherish more and more, as he grew older. 

"Mis' Florence" looked from one to the other, her lips 
tightly drawn in a determined line across her white teeth. 

"What kind of tales have you two been telling your master?" 
she demanded threateningly. Dilsie's round face took on an 
expression of innocent surprise. Mose raised his head and 
stared at her a moment then blurted out : 

"Now, fo' de Lawd's sake, Mis' Florence, what am yo' talkin 



34 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

about? We doan know nuffin to tell to Marse, now does we? 
'Clare to heben, I ain't tole him no lies, an' Dilsie hain't nudder, 
if dat what you mean." 

"I'll catch up with you — you impudent black apes! You 
can't fool me! Some of these days I'll have you leaving here!" 

"Ah! Not quite so fast Florence!" spoke a quiet voice 
behind her, and turning she looked into the pale, stern face of 
her husband. 

"Oh, Henry, forgive me, but these servants of yours have 
been humored so long, and have done as they pleased, until 
they are really trifling. Of course, I only meant to scare them 
a bit. Just see what frightful disorder! Everything should 
have been in perfect order more than an hour ago," she 
faltered. 

"That's all right, Florence. It makes no difference about 
the disorder of the kitchen. Their hearts are good and true and 
in the right place: God bless 'em! They'll never leave here. 
That's a settled fact." Then to Dilsie: 

"The doctor wants you and Mose to take it turn about and 
stay with Jack. The child wants his black mammy — and — " 

"Bless mah honey lam! — I'se gwine dis berry minite!" 
cried Aunt Dilsie, jerking off her big gingham apron, hurriedly 
pinning on a snowy white one, and dashing from the room. 

"Me, too!" and Uncle Mose sprang up like a young panther, 
but his master stopped him : 

"Not now, Mose, but later. Go for your married daughter, 
Sallie, and tell her to come and take charge of this kitchen. 
And Mose, don't you ever worry about having to leave here— 
it will never happen. Filed away in the court house at Rock- 
ingham is a deed giving you and Dilsie your house and 25 acres 
of land lying back of it," patting the old man's hand reassuringly. 

"Oh, Marse Henry — " exclaimed Mose tearfully, "I'se — " 

"Not a word of thanks, Mose, — it's no more than is just 
and r'ght. Go on and bring Sallie!" And all the time Mis' 
Florence stood unnoticed, her authority and wishes completely 
ignored, — even her presence seemingly forgotten, by her lord 
and master. 

When Mose had gone Mr. LaGrande turned to leave the 
room, and was confronted by his wife: 

"Henry! for heaven's sake, tell me what has come between 
us? How have I lost my place in your heart? Why do you 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 35 

insult me before your servants, ignoring my right to adjust 
matters as I see fit? Wouldn't it have been nicer of you to 
have consulted my wishes about installing Sallie in the kitchen ?" 
"My dear lady, I beg your pardon, but it seems to me that 
all the cogwheels of the universe have slipped. Everything is 
wrong. Since finding that the woman to whom I gave my heart 
and name is altogether unworthy of both, is it strange if I 
assume that she has forfeited all right to direct my household? 
Florence, I loved you for what' I thought you were — not what 
I've found you to be." Taking a letter from his pocket he handed 
it to her with a mocking bow, saying: 

"I thought it was addressed to me, and all too late I found 
that it was to 'Mrs.' instead of Mr. Henry LeGrande." Then 
he left her and returned to the bedside of little Jack. 

The proud woman sank limply into a chair, her face white 
as death and her hands trembling. Slowly and with eyes wide 
with horror, she drew the letter from the envelope and read: 

"Danville, Va. 
"Well, Dear Flo : 

"How are you getting along with your clodhopper hubby? 
Any chance of your being a rich widow soon? Don't see how 
you can stand it out in the country with nowhere to go to pass 
off time. I guess the stepson is a nuisance all right, but as 
you say he is very sick, maybe he'll make his exit to celestial 
regions and leave you in complete possession. I know the 'old 
man' is like dough in your hands and that you'll have no trouble 
getting hold of the estate — you were always so charming and 
fascinating. We can safely believe you will shuffle the cards to 
suit yourself, and play a winning game in the end. Good luck 
to you — especially as we are in need of some of the adorable 
greenback. Your loving sister, 

"Dora" 

Though pale as death, as she saw her ruin, the woman made 
no outcry. Already, her fertile brain was trying to devise some 
/means of escape from this terrible net of evidence. A bitter 
smile curled her lips as she gazed from the window. 

"What a cruel prank of fate ! I'll never be able to make him 
believe that I really do truly love him for himself alone, now 
when I have lost him! Life is a hard game at best! Oh, if I 



36 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

had one more chance, I'd try to be all that his great heart 
believes me to be. God help me!" 

Sallie walked in briskly and deposited a little pickanniny 
on the floor, in the spot of sunshine that came through the 
window. 

"And how is lil' Marse Jack, mam?" she asked. 

"'Very, very sick, Sallie. Mammy Dilsie is to help nurse 
him and you are to look after things in her place." 

"Yas'm — I'se done hearn all erbout dat, an' Fse gwine ter 
be right here long es Marse Henry needs me," and the bright, 
clean, capable Sallie proceeded to don Dilsie's big work apron, 
while confusing thoughts chased each other through the throb- 
bing brain of the woman who watched her, and felt that she 
was completely left out of the arrangements. 

Mis' Florence left the room presently and Sallie shook the 
rolling pin at her retreating figure: 

"Yah! you'd run mah poor ole daddy an' mammy offen dis 
place would ye, Mis' Stuck Upity? But you ain't got no deed 
to dis plantation yit!" and Sallie, proceeded to business with 
surprising vim and energy. She was the only living child of 
Mose and Dilsie, and she had already begun to speculate as to 
what their newly acquired property meant for her. Sallie gave 
her baby a piece of bread and said: 

"Yes, honey! dat triflin' daddy o' yorn '11 be turnin up 
soon's he hear de news, but we gwine ter make him eat dirt 
'fore we takes him in again. He's a good niggah in some ways, 
but he des ain't got no henergy an amnition, and he got to git 
some 'fore he lays any claim to a inch ob de LeGran' plantation." 

Upstairs, Aunt Dilsie crooned lullabies to her "honey lam," 
who smiled peacefully even in delirium as he clung to the old 
wrinkled black hand that had nursed and caressed him all his life. 

It was the hour of change, for better or worse; and the 
child had ceased to struggle, or talk. 

Mose knelt outside the door, his old gray head bowed to the 
floor, as he softly prayed in his quaint, superstitious way, for 
the Death Angel to pass on by. The doctor sat with grave face 
and twitching lips where he could watch every fluttering breath 
of his patient. The heart-broken father bent eagerly, yet de- 
spairingly over the sufferer, moistening the dry lips and whis- 
pering over and over: 

"Oh, God! Forgive me and spare my boy!" 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 37 

Joe squatted by the bed and whined piteously, as he closely 
watched his little master and occasionally placed his forepaws 
on the bed caressing the little hot hand with his pink tongue. 

Presently the doctor sprang to his feet and stepped quickly 
to the bed, and placed his finger on the child's pulse. 

"Oh ! mah honey lam ! Don't go !" Aunt Dilsie wailed out, 
slipping to her knees, and old Mose fell sobbing into the room. 
A groan of anguish burst from the lips of the father, for the 
little hands began to flutter and the lips to twitch as if struggling 
for breath and speech. 

"Hush — s — h!" warned the doctor, "I think the crisis has 
passed — he is better!" 

"joe — old — boy!" came a faint voice from the pillow, and 
the father lifted the dog on the bed and placed one little hand 
on the dog's head, as he stammered through sobs. 

"Thank God! oh, thank God!" 

"Papa ! — "and the blue eyes opened and for a moment looked 
at those around him in puzzled surprise. Then putting his arm 
around Joe's neck, he heaved a deep sigh and dropped into a 
peaceful, life-giving sleep. 

"Yes — thank God, he will be all right now!" declared the 
doctor, joyously, while tears of thankfulness rolled down the 
cheeks of Henry LeGrande and the two faithful servants. 

CHAPTER V. 

"Jack is better! He will live, Flora!" exclaimed Henry 
LeGrande, rushing to his wife with the good news, his great 
strong heart melted with tenderness, love and thankfulness 
for God's goodness, a feeling that for the moment blotted out 
all else, and made him forget the bitterness that had lately 
rankled in his breast. 

"I am glad! Oh, so glad, Henry, though you may not be- 
lieve me!" and she threw her arms around his neck and burst 
into tears. The man remembered, turned pale and gazed over 
her head and out of the window, as he placed one arm lightly 
around her. 

"Henry! I love you now — for yourself alone. 

"I confess that at first I married you to get a home for 
myself and boy, but I've learned to love you — I didn't know how 
much until you grew cold toward me." 



38 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

"And what of my boy? What of my child that has starved 
for love and sympathy while we both forgot his very existence? 
What of my baby, who has been made to feel himself a nuisance 
and an incumbrance in his own home; who has been jealous, 
and rightly so, over the difference made between him and your 
son? God — !" pushing her from him and shuddering. 

"Henry, am I alone to blame? If you did not understand 
your own child, how could I? He disliked me from the very 
first, and made my position a very difficult one. I tried to win 
him — you know I did — and you, yourself, finally told me to 
let him alone, and I did so. I'm willing to bear my share of 
the blame, but don't judge me too harshly, and forget your 
own negligence," she earnestly pleaded. "Henry, forgive me, 
and help me to be all that you thought me. I love you and I 
want to be a good woman and a true wife to you." 

"What about that letter?" sadly. "And the 'old man who 
is like dough in your hands?' " 

"Henry, I don't know why Dora wrote as she did, and I 
make no excuses for her or myself. I only know that I love you, 
and that I've never known how much until now." She watched 
his changing countenance, eagerly waiting for the psychological 
moment when he would yield. 

"Husband, God has been good, and let us keep little Jack. 
Can you afford to hold bitterness in your heart toward one who 
is deeply repentant and pleads earnestly to be forgiven? Oh! 
you have never loved me — or you could not be so cruel to me 
now — oh — Henry!" and she turned toward the door, tears 
streaming down her cheeks, and hands pressed over her heart. 

"Flora !" she paused, and leaned against the door. 

"Wife!" she turned and with a joyful cry rushed into his 
outstretched arms. For a moment neither spoke. Then the 
man stooped and kissed the woman's tears away and whispered : 

"We'll let by-gones be by-gones, and begin anew!" Later, 
when alone the woman found herself hard to understand. 

"I wonder if I really do care for him?" she mused. "Any- 
how, I'm glad he has forgiven me. I can't bear his cold, stern 
reproach. I believe if Jack would let me, I'd try, for Henry's 
sake, to be a true mother to him. Anyhow, I must be sure to 
manage so the will won't be changed. If Jack had gone on to 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 39 

his sainted mother, all my troubles would have been over. But — 
well — I'm hard to beat when I set my head! We'll see!" 

Jack recovered rapidly, and there was great rejoicing among 
the blacks on the plantation. Joe never left his side, and Mis' 
Florence allowed him free run of the house, much to Jack's 
amazement. Then, too, she lavished every possible attention on 
the little fellow. He always found fresh flowers in his room, 
pretty picture books on his table, choice delicacies at his plate 
to tempt his appetite and other things that made him wonder, 
while his father's face took on a happy, peaceful expression that 
was good to see. 

But, there was a sore spot in Henry LeGrande's heart that 
never entirely healed. Faith and trust, once shaken from its 
foundation, can never be rebuilt into the same strong and beau- 
tiful structure, and there were times when, in spite of himself, 
the man questioned his wife's sincerity. There was one great 
question ever present with him. Should he happen to die, could 
he safely trust his child to the guardianship of his wife, and 
feel assured that he would get a square deal? He could never 
answer that question satisfactorily, and he writhed under the 
uncertainty. 

Jack had fully recovered when the terrible thing happened 
that made him an orphan, indeed. The occurrence was toa sad 
and harrowing to dwell upon, and we will hurry over it. 

It was early in June when Henry LeGrande was killed in 
a run-away, as he was returning from Rockingham. The neigh- 
bors all declared that they never had witnessed such heart- 
rending grief as that of Jack, when the mangled form of his dead 
father was brought home on a stretcher, and the wife seemed 
almost bereft o f reason. She p-athered his coat, in her arms and 
sobbed over it unrestrainedly, when it was tenderly taken from 
the body by kind friends who had hastily gathered in. Later, 
when she was persuaded to go to her own room and lie down, 
she still clung to the soiled and bloody coat. Those good men 
would have been shocked had they seen with what eagerness she 
went through the pockets when left alone. 

Henry LeGrande was buried by the side of his wife — his 
first love; and sorrowing friends turned away from the flower- 
covered mound, with wonder and awe in their hearts. 

The incident of the falling portrait had been aired by the 



40 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

superstitious blacks, and these simple country folks, thoroughly 
believing in "signs," were deeply impressed. 

Arthur had, of course, come home; and, as the sad occur- 
rence was only a few days before commencement, he did not 
return. After the funeral was over Mis' Florence sent for the 
family lawyer, and had him bring all her husband's private 
papers. 

The lawyer came, and in the presence of a few neighbors 
and all the plantation negroes, gave Mose a deed to his cabin 
and the twenty-five acre lot back of it, and read the will. 

It was found that a small sum had been placed in the bank 
for Jack until he should become of age. Arthur, too, was pro- 
vided for in the same way, and the plantation was unreservedly 
given "to my beloved wife, Florence LeGrande, who is to have 
absolute and complete possession, and full control of all my 
property, and the guardianship of my child, Jack A. LeGrande, 
who I know will be liberally provided for at her hands." 

Jack, after one wild look around the room, slipped to the 
floor, weeping as if his heart would break. The sullen silence 
of the blacks as they gazed on the stricken child, showed their 
indignation plainer than words could have done. 

There were no relatives interested enough to come forward 
and fight for the child's right and though there was, for a few 
days, much wonder and speculation, the neighbors had a way 
of "minding their own business," and were all soon busy "laying- 
by" their big "bottom corn," accepting the declaration of old 
Tom Ingram, that "Henry LeGrande was a bigger fool than we 
thought, But, I recon' he had the right to do with his own just 
as he pleased!" 

"Papa didn't intend it — I know he didn't," cried Jack out 
in Mose's cabin. "That very morning when he went to Rock- 
ingham, he said to me: "Son, I feel that something is going to 
happen to me — and I can't rest till I get things fixed right!" 

"But honey, de lawyer say he wuz outten town dat day, 
and so Marse neber done no fixin, more'n he'd already done. 
Debbel take dat 'oman ! Hit's all her doin's !" 

"Yah ! an dey's alreddy puttin on airs !" declared Dilsie, 
stroking Jack's head. "Dat brat Arthur done 'gin to strut wid 
importance, an him an Mis' Florence des seem lak dey ain't 



ON'iY A FACTORY BOY. 41 

got no trubbles at all. Honey lam/ doan you cry. Hit's gwine 
ter come out right in de end." 

"Arthur has already begun to pick at me an' Miss Florence 
ain't so kind as she was before — before — oh! Mammy, why 
didn't you all let me die?" 

"Lil Marse — doan cry dat way — please doan ! It des erbout 
bus' me open — I des can't stan' it, Lil' Marse. Mose an' Dilsie'll 
stick to you' honey, long as we got bref , an de good Marster up 
in heven an't gwine ter let no orphin suffer. Hit des gotter 
cum out right, honey, kase God gwine ter unkiver de sins o' de 
wicked what bin a prosecutin' His lil lam!" 

"Yah! Glory to His name!" chanted Aunt Dilsie. Mose 
looked toward her a little uneasy. More than once she had 
beaten him almost to death while shouting, and he had no desire 
to work on her emotions until they got the best of her, so he 
changed the subject. Going to the door he glanced at the sun 
that was low in the West: 

"Hoopee! milkin' time! Come on, lil Marse — I'se des got 
de bestes tale to tell yo' while we git de feed mixed fur de 
cows!" and presently Mose and Jack were in the barn, and 
though the child's face was pale and his eyes sad, Uncle Mose 
had stopped his tears. Both were busy with hoes, stirring 
and mxing a great pile of cut feed for the cows, when Arthur 
came in smoking a cigarette. 

"Better be careful, Arthur — you might drop a spark and set 
the barn afire," said Jack. 

Arthur leaned against the door facing and looked at Jack 
contemptuously. 

"Well, if I should burn the whole darn thing up it wouldn't 
be any loss to you, would it?" 

"I don't know — it might be!" returned Jack, stirring the 
feed more vigorously. 

"Gee! you're not such a fool as to try to contest the will, 
I hope? Now wouldn't that be fun?" taking the cigarette from 
his mouth and blowing smoke through his nose. Then he 
continued : 

"Mother is one more peach. We didn't know though that 
the falling of the sainted one's portrait would mean the governor's 
death," musingly. 



42 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

"You cut that cord!" hissed Jack between clenched teeth, 
his blue eyes black with passion and his face chalky white as 
he leaned forward. 

"Boys, boys!" mildly protested Mose. 

"Ha! ha! Did I? Anything- to oblige the best of mothers, 
who — " but the sentence was never finishel. With one quick 
and powerful stroke of the sharp hoe, Jack felled him to the 
floor, his head split horribly and the life blood gushing forth in 
torrents. 

"Oh, my Gawd! Oh, my Gawd, honey! You done killed 
him! Lawd in heben — oh; honey dey'll hang yo' chile! and I 
promist your dyin' Ma I'd take keer o' you!" wailed old Mose 
falling to his knees. 

Jack still held the bloody hoe in his hands and looked with 
horror-stricken eyes on the still form of his step-brother. The 
blood froze in his veins and he stood rooted to the spot, unable 
to move. 

"Honey, git outten here an' go hide in de cane brake. I'll 
come to you atter dark an' tell yo' what to do. Git out! Fo' 
Gawd's sake, go ! Git dar on de sly — yo' an' Joe. I'll tend to dis — 
oh — chile, go!" and Mose laid the bloody hoe by Arthur's head 
as Jack with a groan of agony slipped through the back door 
and with Joe at his heels ran down between rows of rank corn, 
to the river. 

The sun had set and darkness had settled. Jack with his 
face buried in his hands sat trembling with guilt and fear in 
the thick cane brakes, and Joe tried vainly to comfort hirn. 

"Hi, dar!" came a muffled voice. 

"Here I am, Mose — me and Joe! Is he dead?" And Jack 
ran forward in the darkness and fell sobbing at the old man's 
feet. "Oh, don't tell me he is dead sure enough!" 

"Honey, de doctah hadn't cum yit when I lef — but doan you 
worry, he had a little pulse. Mis' Florence des ravin lak a 
'stracted 'oman an' a scremin' wid ever bref." 

"Oh !" shuddered the boy. "I wish I was dead! Did 

you tell 'em, Mose?" 

"No, honey! No! I dashed de feed to de cows, den went to 
de house an told Mis' Florence dat as my hand wuz so sore you 
wuz gwine ter milk fur me, an' she low 'well, dat's all right.' 
Atter little while she cum back to de kitchen an she say : 'Ain't 



• 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 43 

dat triflin boy brung de milk in yit,' an I say, 'No, mam, it takes 
a long time to milk dem two fine cows.' 

" 'Bout dat time de han's rive from de field an directly we 
hearn 'em a hollerin out at de barn. Dat cussed niggah Sam, 
come a rollin an tumblin ober heself into de kitchen, his eyes a 
bulgin out an he wuz yellin: 'Gawd a-mighty, Mistes, Marse 
Arfur daid in de barn — hes hed busted wide open!" 

"Den we all went runnin to de barn, an dar he lay, honey, 
des lak he drapped. Mis' Florence screamed out dat you wuz 
de mudderer, an den she drapped rat across de body an died 
away an we ha to tote her to de house. Honey, I ain't goin to 
tell nuffin. Dey cain't make me witness gin you. I'll swear to 
lies 'fore I'll say you done it! I node I hatter do somethin, 
so I tole 'em I'd bring de neighbors, an I run atter de Ingrams 
an de Jacksonses. Bud Ingram say it's a wonder you hadn't 
done it long ergo ! 

"Well, den, I des stood aroun' an' waited an' listened an' 
tried to ketch on. Marse Tom Ingram, he same as er doctah, 
and he 'low maybe it ain't bad as it looks, an' he pore a few 
draps of whiskey in Arthur's mouth, but he didn't swaller. 
Honey, de sheriff'll be huntin ye tomorrow, an' you mus' get 
away fum here. 

"I'se brung yo' coat and somethin' to eat, and honey, roll 
down yer stockin." Old Mose pushed up the boy's knee pants, 
pulled down his stocking and slipped something flat down inside. 

"Dar, now! Dat won't show, an nobody won't think of 
robin ye!" he said fastening the stocking back up. 

"What is it, Uncle Mose?" asked Jack. 

"Des a lil present frum me and Dilsie, honey — you'll find it 
handy in yo' trabels. Be keerful wid it." Later Jack found that 
the present was two five-dollar bills. 

"Now, honey, I des hatter put you an Joe in a boat an' 
leave yo' in de hands o' de Lawd! De dams done busted out 
at de mill, an you kin go er long ways des a floatin. You kin 
float all night." 

"Oh, Mose, won't I ever see you an Mammy Dilsie any 
more?" sobbed Jack. "I don't want to go an leave you! I'll 
go back — I don't care what they do to me!" 

"Honey lam! we's gwine ter meet sum day right here 
on dis earf, an eberthing gwine ter be all smoothed over by de 



44 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

hand o' de Lawd! Dilsie say go an' Gawd bless yo' hart — it 
all gwine ter come out lak de good Lawd wants it to !" 

"But it can't come out right ! I'm a murderer !" wailed Jack. 

"No you ain't ! No, you ain't — he ain't daid honey ! don't you 
believe it !" snorted Mose trying to encourage the boy. "But it's 
des dis way, honey, Miss Florence got it in fo' yo, and de 
bes' thing to do is to hit de grit." After much persuasion, 
coaxing and threatening, Jack and Joe entered a light boat that 
Mose had hidden, and the old man shoved it far out into the 
stream after straining boy and dog to his faithful if erring 
heart, in a tearful, prayerful, goodbye. 

But Arthur did not die! He was soon able to give his 
mother an account of what had happened, and both agreed to 
do nothing whatever with Jack. He was gone and that was 
better. A trial might bring investigations and complications. 
For certain reasons, Mis' Florence wished to avoid publicity as 
much as possible. 

Mose was frantic. He had sent Jack away in haste, and 
had made no plans for hearing from him. The child might 
drown — but no — he could swim like a duck, and no one could 
harm him, with Joe as a bodyguard. He had declared from the 
first that he knew nothing about Jack's leaving, and now he must 
stick to it! The old man was sore beset, and Dilsie's pillow 
was nightly wet with tears. Where was her "honey lam !" 

The neighbors, too, made diligent inquiry concerning the 
missing lad. Some even suggested foul play, but there was no 
evidence. Joe was gone — so was the boy — surely they were 
together. 

"I don't think Jack will dare to come back! We are rid 
of him for good and all,' I believe. I'm tired of having people 
call to make inquiries concerning him, and we've got to have 
some news to give them, so they'll stop," said the widow to her 
son as she dressed his head. "It's been three weeks, now, since 
he left, and it's time we were getting a letter," she smiled. 
"Well, I'll have one next time Bud Ingram comes around ! He'll 
spread the news!" 

Arthur looked at hs mother in quick comprehension and nod- 
ded: 

"I'll swear!" he whispered. "Mother, you do beat the devil!" 

"Arthur!" 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 45 

"Well, you do ! You're a wonder !" She smiled over the doubt- 
ful compliment, then took a letter from her bosom, and laid it in 
his hands. He read : 

Danville, Va.. 
"Dear Mother : 

"I am with your sister, who tells me that dear Arthur is not 
dead after all. I am truly thankful and beg that you will both 
forgive the rash act that almost wrecked my life. 

"I don't want to return home, though. I want to enter 
school here and hope you will make all necessary arrangements. 
Aunt Dora says I may stay with her, and I know I'll love her — 
she is so like you. 

"I'm sorry I ran away — I'm sorry for everything." Arthur 
laughed. 

"Pretty good far as it goes, mother, but you'd better put in 
a message for Mose and Dilsie, to make it ring true." 

"Yes, of course ! Here, let me add a few more lines ! How's 
this?" and she read: 

"Tell Mammy Dilsie and Uncle Mose that I miss them just 
awful, but I'm going to stay away and get an education and 
come back when I am grown and take care of them in their old 
age. 

"Aunt Dora is writing for me. 

"Jack. 

"That's fine!" declared Arthur, and it will stop people's 
tongues, I hope.'' 

"Yes, and as soon as you are able to travel we are going 
to visit dear Jack, and get him fixed in school!" she answered. 

"You seem sure that he won't turn up." 

"I am sure that he will not," she answered. 

Bud Ingram called that same evening to see Arthur, and to 
inquire about Jack. The letter was read to him with much 
rejoicing and the plans for "dear little Jack's future" were dis- 
cussed at length. 

"No wonder the poor child ran away," declared his step- 
mother. "He thought he had actually killed Arthur." Bud 
didn't say he thought it very strange that Jack should go to 
her people in his trouble, but he thought it. 



46 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

When the letter was read to Uncle Mose and Aunt Dilsie, 
the two old servants looked at each other in consternation, but 
said not a word. Later Uncle Mose saw Bud Ingram and asked : 

"I guess you'se studied gejogfry some, ain't yo' — dat skule 
book what tells whar sich an sich a place is? Well, is dis here 
Danville, Virginy, up Norf er down Souf?" 

"Up North," answered Bud. Uncle Mose later told Aunt 
Dilsie that: 

"Dat letter des a blankety blank lie — lil Marse went down 
de riber to de Souf." 

Bud, of course, told every one that Jack had been heard 
from, and everything turned out as the widow planned. 

CHAPTER VI. 

"Mister, please give me a job in your mill.'' 

The superintendent of one of Georgia's most progressive 
mills raised his head, and his round, genial face took on a look 
of surprise and interest. Just outside the open window under 
the trellis of June roses which shaded it, was a small boy in 
travel-stained clothes and big torn straw hat and by his side 
a large dog with forepaws resting on the window sill. The man 
smiled. 

'Want a job for your dog, too?" he asked. 

"Yes, sir!" came the eager reply. 

"Well, come in, and we'll talk about it," said the superln- 
dent; and boy and dog went round to the door and entered. 
Mr. Nixon turned in his revolving chair, and motioned the boy 
to a seat near him, while he took a very close look at his 
visitors. 

The dusty traveler sank wearily into the padded chair but 
his eyes were round with wonder and amazement as they took 
in the magnificent furnishing of the office. The dog squatted 
by his master's side, panting with the heat. 

The superintendent saw something strangely appealing in 
the slender figure, drooping mouth and pathetic blue eyes. He 
must see that this little fellow was sent back to his mother, 
he thought. 

"So you want a job. Ever work in a mill?" 

"No, sir — never saw in one — but I can learn." 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 47 

"Where are you from? Don't live here, do you?" 

"Mister, I ain't got no home, nor nobody but Joe." 

"Where are your parents?" 

"Both dead," and the lad's lips quivered. 

"There, there! What is your name, my boy?" very kindly. 

"Jack Armstrong-." Armstrong was Jack's middle name 
and something prompted him to use it. 

"Jack, you have run away from some one, haven't you? 
Tell me everything, child, just as if I were your fathei. 

The boy's heart gave a thankful bound. He felt that here 
was a good true friend. Still he was afraid. 

"Mister, I couldn't get along with my stepmother and — and 
— her son/' he faltered. 

Ah, I see. I had a stepmother, too, Jack, but she was a 
good woman and a good mother to me. Are you sure you are 
not to blame?" 

"I would have loved her if I could, but she wasn't good — she 
always hated me. After papa died — I — I was just in the way, 
so me an' Joe left. Please let me work." 

John Baxter, who kept the mill boarding house and ran the 
"Company farm," had come in quietly and was listening with 
interest to the conversation. 

"You are too small to work. You ought to be in school," 
continued Mr. Nixon. Jack's lips quivered piteously. 

• "Please, sir, I'm fourteen, and I must have work. I met 
a boy down the road, and we got to talk in' an' he said he knew 
you would give me a chance. Mister, we ain't had a thing to 
eat today," and Jack gulped down a sob. 

"Good heavens! Child, you are hungry!" and the superin- 
tendent grabbed a telephone from his desk. 

"Hello! Give me Jones' Restaurant. That you Jones? 
Yes? Well, send a dandy good lunch to my office at once — 
plenty for a small hungry boy and a big dog. Hurry, please." 

Jack's eyes became round with wonder as he gazed on this 
amazing bit of performance. He had never before seen a tele- 
phone. A thousand questions surged tc his lips, but he held 
them in check and waited. 

In a very short time a colored boy wearing an immaculate 
suit of white duck and cap to match, conspicuously labeled 
"Jones' Restaurant," hurried in with a large covered waiter 



48 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

which he politely handed to Mr. Nixon, who took it and dis- 
missed him. Then placing the waiter on his desk, he lifted 
the snowy cloth and said : 

"Here you are Jack! Nice juicy ham, eggs, muffins, rolls, 
potato salad, milk and peach pie — and lots of it. Now, you and 
Joe sail in." Jack rose eagerly. 

"Thank you, sir. You sure are good," he said. 

A big newspaper was spread on the carpet, on which was 
placed a generous meal for Joe, the dog waiting patiently and 
politely until told to eat. In the meantime the superintendent 
and Mr. Baxter were holding a consultation in the bookkeeper's 
office. 

"There's something about the boy that makes me want to 
trust him and ask no questions," said Mr. Nixon. "He doesn't 
look as if he's had a square deal." 

"Strikes me the same way," declared Baxter. "But he's 
so little to be tryin' to 'paddle his own canoe." Baxter had no 
idea that the boy had been "paddling a canoe!" 

"That was the best meal me an' Joe ever had, I guess, an' 
we thank you." Turning to Joe he said: "Thank the gentle- 
man, Joe," and the dog immediately stood on his hind legs, 
nodded his head vigorously and yelped. 

"Nice dog," smiled Mr. Nixon. 

"But you ain't said I could work," appealed Jack. 

"Child, you can't make enough in the mill to support your- 
self aim dog. You ought not to have brought him. Perhaps 
you can sell him." Jack looked frightened : 

"Sell Joe! Oh, no sir. He's all I got in the world, now. 
I'll work night and day for his keep." Then turning to the dog 
who sat and listened with an intelligent expression in his big 
brown eyes : 

"Joe, what would you do without me?" Instantly the dog 
fell as if shot, groaned and stretched out stiff as if dead, while 
the surprised superintendent and Mr. Baxter looked on with 
interest. 

"That's all right, Joe, we'll stay together," and the dog 
sprang up wagging his tail joyously. 

"Now pray that we shan't ever be parted," commanded 
Jack, and Joe went to a chair, squatted before it, put his paws 
together, bowed his head on them, groaned and whined in such a 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 49 

heart-rending way that Mr. Nixon, caught himself swallowing 
a lump in his throat. 

"Well, I'll swigger!" exclaimed Baxter. 

"Beats anything I ever saw. Don't blame you Jack — he's 
worth his weight in gold," declared Mr. Nixon. "But what's 
to be done? I don't know what to do." 

"Say!" said Baxter. "You give the boy a job an' I'll keep 
him an' his dog if he'll help me nights and mornings around 
the barn. I like the kid an' I like his dog. I believe they will 
both make good." 

Jack listened eagerly for the superintendent's reply. 

"No doubt he would be quite a help to you after he gets 
stronger," mused Mr. Nixon. "We'll take him on, then. It's 
about stopping time now," looking at his watch. "He can come 
back in the morning and I'll see what can be done for him. In 
the meantime we must watch the papers and see if he is adver- 
tised." 

As Jack trudged along by the side of Mr. Baxter, he thought 
he had never seen a rougher, uglier man. He wore a dirty suit 
of overalls, just like the farmers at home wore. His stumpy 
beard of three week's growth was streaked with gray, and his 
nose was entirely too large. His hands were rough and knotty, 
ins shoulders were very stooped and his legs were badly warped. 
His only redeeming feature was a pair of the kindest gray eyes 
that looked with charity and sympathy on the whole world. 

Just then the 6 o'clock whistle blew and Jack gazed on the 
stream of workers that poured from the mill at the foot of the 
hill, a sight he had never seen before, and which interested 
him greatly. The sun was still high in the heaven, and from 
Baxter Heights, as the boarding house was called, a picture of 
the whole village was plainly seen. Baxter pointed out the 
"Super's" house, the two nice churches, the Y. M. C. A. hall, 
the big graded school house and other points of interest. The 

town of A was on the other side of the valley, and could 

be reached by electric car line. 

The big boarding house, full to overflowing, almost frighten- 
ed our timid Jack. Tired, fussy and fat, Mrs. Baxter almost 
finished him when she declared she had no place for the "little 
tramp" and she certainly was not going to have that "villainous 
looking dog around." Jack's heart quaked with fear and he 




JACK AND JOE 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 51 

shrank behind Mr. Baxter who whispered reassuringly, and gave 
him an affectionate slap on the shoulder: 

"Never mind, son, — her bark's worse'n her bite. She'll soon 
be the best friend you an' Joe's got. She has so much to do that 
her temper is kinder frazzled sometimes, but she's the best 
woman in the world," and the little man motioned for Jack to 
follow him to the barn. 

When they reached the big barn in which was housed the 
company stock and feed, Baxter suddenly had an inspiration and 
said" 

"Jack, if you ain't afraid, an' being as it's warm weather, 
we might arrange for you to sleep here in the barn till we get 
some room in the house. Emily says she ain't got a inch of 
room nowhere. I didn't know that when I said I'd take you,'' 
apologized the man. 

"I ain't afraid nowhere with Joe, and I'd a sight rather stay 
out here," declared Jack, shuddering over the thought of Mrs. 
Baxter's sharp tongue. 

Baxter consulted with his fifteen-year-old daughter, Nellie, 
who was in the barn looking for eggs, and she soon agreed with 
him that the little harness room in one corner of the barn could 
be easily converted into quite a respectable bed-room. All went 
to work with a will, and the room was soon cleared out. The 
racks were transferred to one side of the barn and the gear 
and harness hung thereon. 

A discarded single bed that had been packed in the wood- 
shed was put up, and well furnished from the house. A dry 
goods box was converted into a wash stand with white oilcloth 
cover, and on this was placed a covered galvanized waterbucket, 
wash pan and dipper. Over it was hung a cracked looking glass 
and a little case holding comb and brush. 

Mr. Baxter was happy as a boy as he emerged again from 
the wood-house with a small table, stool and a chair. Then 
standing at the door with his warped legs very far apart and 
hands thrust deep into his pockets, he surveyed the little room. 

"Seems like somethin's lackin' yet," he mused. 
"Yes. Soap and towels," said Nellie. 
"That's it! Go and get 'em, girlie." Nellie ran out to do 
his bidding, and Baxter exclaimed : 

"Say, Jack, some of these days when I get a chance, I'll 



52 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

mend up your furniture and give it a coat of paint." And the 
boy smiled delightedly. 

At the foot of the bed a mat was placed for Joe which 
pleased Jack as much as his own bed did. 

When Nellie returned with the soap and towels, she also 
brought a little Waterbury alarm clock. After showing Jack 
how to wind and set it, she hung it on the wall, saying : 

"Jack, I like you and Joe, and I want you to get on the 
good side of mother; and you can do it if you'll try. She has 
lots to do. Our cook doesn't sleep here, and mother always 
rises at 4:30 and makes a fire in the range ready for her. 
Perhaps you can do that — and draw some fresh water before 
breakfast.'' 

"Oh, yes, Miss Nellie, I'll be glad to do that, Tell vour 
mother she needn't get up — I'll have the fire ready — only you 
must show me how to get in, and where to find things," replied 
Jack, happy over the thought that perhaps he really could earn 
his keep, and Joe's, if he worked hard. 

"Is there a place anywhere close where I can go in bath- 
in'?" asked Jack as he thought with a pang at his heart of 
the beautiful Pee Dee, where he and Joe had so often gone 
swimming. 

"Why, yes, there's a rfice swimmin' pool down the creek, 
a piece — an' we've got a bath room at the house which you can 
use," replied Mr. Baxter. "If you jest want to bathe your feet 
why go out here to the hoss-trough." 

Jack was shown how to get into the kitchen and where 
wood and kindling were kept. He was urged to eat supper, but 
he had eaten so heartily in the superintendent's office, that he 
didn't care for any and seeing that his master would not eat, 
neither would Joe. 

Jack went to bed early. Joe's mat was changed from the 
foot of the bed to the side, so that Jack could lie with his hand 
on the dog's head. The munching of the horses as they ate 
the corn was sweet and restful music to our tired lad, who tried 
to review the events of the past few days. The sad death of 
his father, was the most vivid picture in the child's mind. That 
he had murdered his step-brother, seemed like some horrible 
dream. He tried to brand himself a murderer. He tried to 
imagine the grief and despair of his step-mother as she viewd 
the lifeless form of her boy, bathed in blood from the terrible 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 53 

gash on his head. But it seemed as if God had in some way 
numbed his sensibilities to such an extent that he escaped the 
horror and despair that might have run him mad. 

The thought of Mose and Dilsie in their lonely hut, brought 
the tears to his eyes. Would he ever see them again? How 
would he ever have lived to reach this place if it had not been 
for the present Mose slipped into his stocking? Traveling and 
lunches had taken it all, and he had tried so hard to be saving. 

Jack had abandoned his boat at Cheraw, S. C, after travel- 
ing all night, and had walked and walked, neither knowing or 
caring where he was going, just so he escaped the wrath of his 
step-mother, and the consequences of his rash, mad act. Very 
often a wagoner would ask him to ride, and he always accepted 
if he could arrange for Joe to ride, and refused promptly if 
arrangements could not be made. At Columbia, he met with a 
boy older than himself — a regular little tramp — who was intend- 
ing to "beat a train" to Augusta that night and tried to persuade 
Jack to accommapy him. 

"I'd love to beat a train goin' somewhere," said Jack, "but 
I don't see how it can be done. Me an' Joe has come a long 
way an' traveled mitey fast, but any train could beat us." 

"Aw go way," laughed the other boy. "Don't be so fresh 
an' green — the cows and geese will eat you shore. Don't you 
know how to beat a train? I don't mean beat it a gettin' there, 
but beat the road outen fare — ride on the sly, without a ticket." 
Jack's eyes narrowed down to mere slits, as he voiced his dis- 
approval : 

"Me an' Joe don't do things that way. We'll be straight, 
no difference what it costs. We'll walk when we can't pay." 

As Jack lay in his bed and reviewed the past two weeks, it 
seemed to him that it had been months since he left home. He 
wondered what he was going to do for clothes, and a choking 
sense of dread crept into his heart as he thought of going into 
the big mill with its awful noise, and among so many strangers. 

Jack, though tired, was restless, and for a long time lay 
and gazed at the round faced moon that looked in at the open 
window, while the soft June zephyrs, fragrant with an odor 
of roses that brought memories of home, rushed in and kissed 
his brow. He finally thought that perhaps he had not set his 
clock to alarm properly and got up to see. The light of the 



54 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

moon proved his fears groundless and he lay down again and 
soon fell asleep. 

Mrs. Baxter in her night gown and bed-room slippers, 
peeped into the stove room next morning at 4:30 and drew a 
deep breath of satisfaction as she saw that the fire was already 
made in the big range and the kettle and buckets filled with 
water. 

She sleepily made her way back to her bed, dropping down 
by the side of her husband, wondering in a bewildered way who 
this little tramp lad could be. Nudging her companion with her 
elbow she plied him with questions and soon learned all that 
Baxter knew about the boy. 

"So he's a orphan ! Don't look like he's had half enough to 
eat — poor little chap! Well, I'll see that he gets all the good 
juicy steak, eggs an milk that he can hide under his shirt, an' 
if he don't perk up under it, I'll know there's somethin' turrible 
ailin him." Baxter was delighted and he ventured : 

"Mother, the little feller's goin' to work this mornin' an' 
he's mitey dirty. I expect some of them boys will be pickin' 
at him an' axin if his washwoman didn't bring his clothes home. 
You know there's a mighty clean an' pertickler set of help here." 
Mrs. Baxter bounced out of bed and left the room. Presently, 
still in her night gown, she returned with a bundle. 

"Get right up from there, John Baxter and take these things 
to that child. Ned's outgrowed 'em but they're good and clean. 
That orphan ain't goin' dirty from my house." Baxter's gray 
eyes beamed lovingly on his robust spouse, and he hurriedly 
pulled on his trousers, glad to do her bidding, and prove to the 
boy that he had told the truth when declaring that his wife 
was "the best woman in the world." 

When Baxter went to the barn he found that the horses had 
all been fed and Jack was in the stall rubbing the glossy sides 
of "Midnight," a nervous and fiery mare colt, that was just 
being broken to harness. 

"Come outten there, lad; come out!" he cried, in fear for 
the child's life. "She'll kill you. She's a young devil!" 

"Why, she's a lovin' beauty," declared Jack, winding his 
arms about the colt's neck, and patting her confidently. To 
Baxter's amazement, the colt made no objection, and even left 
her food and followed Jack wistfully, as he went to the other end 
of the trough, climbed over it and into the barn. 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 55 

"Well, I'll swigger! Jack, air you a wizzard? How did 
you win her?" asked Baxter. 

"I just loved her and trusted her — that's all," replied Jack, 
smilingly, as he stopped to pat Joe and to assure him that he 
had no cause for jealousy. Baxter unrolled his bundle, grinning 
triumphantly : 

"Didn't I tell you the old 'oman would be your best friend? 
Now jest look what she's sent ye. Some overalls, clean stockings, 
a shirt — an — bless Patty! a tie," he gasped, as he saw one of 
his own washties unfold to his sight. "An, yes, here's a night 
shirt, too," and Baxter spread the garments on the bed. Jack's 
eyes filled with tears : 

"I was wishin' I had some clean clothes, but I didn't think 
I'd get 'em," he stammered gratefully. "Please tell Mrs. Baxter 
that I thank her a thousand times, an' if I live I'll do something 
for her some day. I won't ever forget this. An — an — Mr. 
Baxter, won't you go with me in the mill this mornin' an — 
sorter start me off right?" begged Jack, catching the man's hand 
in his eagerness. 

Why, I sure will, my boy. Now, you hurry into these togs. 
Don't wear nothin under your shirt an overalls, cause it's hot 
in the mill, an you'll have to dress light or you can't stand it, 
goin' in at the hot season this way. When you git ready, let's 
go to breakfast, so we'll be at the mill on time. They ain't nothin' 
like bein' on time, my boy. Punctuility ort to be everybody's 
motto. Punctility, an' a determination to do your work jest a 
little better than anybody alse ever did, will make a feller go to 
top rail ever time," declared Baxter, as he waited for Jack to 
change clothes. 

"Why, they are just right!" exclaimed Jack, proudly, as he 
donned the overalls. "But must I wear this?" and he held up 
the tie, half doubtfully and a little wistfully. 

"Sure! the old 'oman will expect it. Somehow a tie allers 
gives a feller a kind of unapproachable, hands-off look, an is a 
mitey nice finish to an overall suit," returned Baxter, stepping 
forward and showing the boy how to tie it on. 

"I can do that. It's tied like a hamestring," laughed Jack. 

The big dining room table was full of boarders and Jack 
was glad that he was to have his meals with the family in the 
kitchen. Mrs. Baxter, though busy helping the cook to "wait 



56 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

on" the boarders, took time to pile Jack's plate with choice food, 
and was pleased to see that he ate heartily. 

"Thank you for those clean clothes," he had whispered 
timidly, as she paused by his chair; but she hurried away with- 
out answering, to look after another's wants, leaving our boy 
a little uncomfortable. He learned later, that some of the best 
and truest hearts that ever beat, are hidden beneath rough ex- 
teriors and indifferent manners. 

CHAPTER VII. 

Jack's heart throbbed wildly as he and Baxter climbed the 
stairs to the spinning room; he gazed with mingled awe and 
dread, half frightened and half fascinated by the noisy, laugh- 
ing, joking crowd, as each hurried to his or her place in the mill. 

Superintendent Nixon, and Mr. Jones, the spinning room 
overseer, were standing at the head of the stairs in the big alley. 

"On time, I see," smiled the superintendent, patting Jack's 
shoulder. "Mr. Jones will give you a job," he said, then left 
the room. 

Jack looked at his "boss," who turned and motioned to a 
boy who was passing. 

"Steve, take this boy and teach him to doff." The boy 
nodded assent, looked Jack over and grinned, then passed on. 
Baxter gave Jack a gentle push and he followed. When they 
had gone a few steps the overseer called : 

"Come here a minute, Steve," and Jack paused, as the boy 
retraced his steps Mr. Jones said in a low voice: 

"Look here now, Steve, the new boy, Jack Armstrong, is an 
orphan, and I want you to look out for him and see that no one 
mistreats him. I'm going to depend on you to see him through. 
You may tell the others that any one who doesn't treat him with 
consideration, will be discharged. That's all," as the boy stared 
at him. 

Steve was the greatest tease in the mill and was. generally 
called the "meanest," but Mr. Jones had great tact, and knew 
exactly how to handle him in this instance. The lad walked 
back feeling several inches taller. He was a little amazed and 
chagrined to find that they would not be allowed to initiate the 
new boy, a ceremony religiously performed for the benefit of 
every "green-horn," and heretofore always enjoyed by even 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 57 

the "boss." But then, this "kid" was an orphan, and he, Steve 
Laney, was elected his guardian. Well, he'd show Mr. Jones 
that he was equal to the task set for him, and he'd "just knock 
the stuffin out of any boy that bothered the kid !" 

Joe could not understand at first why he must be left, but 
finally became reconciled. He would go with Jack to the mill 
door, morning and noon, and soon learning the "stopping time" 
whistle, would dash for the mill door, reaching it first and wait- 
ing for the lad. Anxious that his pet should be appreciated, 
Jack often had him perform on the mill lawn during the noon 
hour, and smiled delightedly over the applause he received. 

While his master was in the mill, Joe took charge of the 
younger Baxter children, and it was amusing to see how hard 
he tried to keep the two-year-old off the streets and out of 
danger. He learned to open and shut the yard gate, and would 
go to the postoffice and mail letters that had been carefully 
wrapped to keep them clean. He would stand on his hind legs 
and bark in at the general delivery window, asking for mail. If 
there happened to be none, the postmaster would give him an 
uncalled for paper, for Joe refused to leave "empty-handed." 

Mrs. Baxter would often send Joe with an order to the 
market and he always returned promptly with a basket of meats, 
getting a generous slice as a reward. 

Jack got along nicely in the mill. He had gone in deter- 
mined to work so well that Mr. Nixon would never regret giving 
him a chance. He was anxious to please and watched the other 
boys closely, trying every day to improve. 

He never failed to have the fire in the range at 4:30 a. m. 
Mrs. Baxter soon learned that she could depend upon him, and 
was greatly benefited by the extra hour of sleep she enjoyed. 
Meantime, Jack improved wonderfully. His work gave him a 
good appetite and Mrs. Baxter, understanding the need of a 
growing boy, took especial pains in a quiet matter of fact way, 
to furnish him all the good, nourishing food needed to develop 
body, brain and muscle. In fact, she looked after the lad so 
thoughtfully, that her own sixteen-year-old son, Ned, jealously 
remonstrated, and to his everlasting surprise, got spanked for 
his pains. 

On the 20th of December, just six month's after Jack's 
arrival, Superintendent Nixon walked across the mill lawn to 
speak to his doffer boys. It was still lovely weather and the 



58 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

boys were playing leap-frog, standing on their heads and doing 
other stunts between doffs. Noticing that one boy took no part 
in their games, Mr. Nixon, much interested, walked over to 
where the lad sat upon a rustic seat, his head bent over a book, 
and so absorbed that he did not notice the man's approach. The 
boy was Jack, and the book was a second-grade reader: 

"Good for you, my boy!" exclaimed Mr. Nixon. "That's 
right. Improve every golden minute. Your overseer tells me 
that you are best doffer in the mill, and Baxter says he couldn't 
get along without you and Joe. I haven't seen or heard of any 
inquiry for you, so I'm rather glad I gave you a chance." 

Jack looked up with shining eyes: 

"I'm glad Mr. Jones is pleased. I've tried to do my best. 
I'm studying all I can, too, and saving my money to go to school 
later." 

"How much have you saved on 50 cents a day?" smiled the 
superintendent. 

"All I've made except some I had to spend for books and 
a Sunday suit, hat, shoes and underwear, so I could go to Sunday 
school — and some Sunday school money." 

"How much time have you lost?" 

"Not a single day," very proudly. 

"And you study while the others play?" 

"Well, you see, I can't study at night, since the days are so 
short, 'cause I can't have a light in the barn. Mr. Baxter is 
afraid of fire," replied Jack. 

"Are you still in the barn? Why don't you stay in the 
house?" 

"Mrs. Baxter needs all her rooms for boarders and I like 
it at the barn with Joe. I couldn't leave him alone — and couldn't 
take him in the house. But I do wish we could have a light." 

"Why don't you quit work after Christmas and go to school? 
It won't cost you a cent and you can still work for Baxter for 
your board." 

"I'd rather work and make money. Besides Mr. Baxter and 
Nellie say I am learning faster than any of the boys in school." 

"Well, well, well!" said the superintendent in amazement. 
"Jack what do you do with your money? I mean where do 
you keep it?" 

"Mrs. Baxter keeps it for me." 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 59 

"Better deposit it in the bank, my boy — or, you can put it 
in the office and draw interest on it," suggested Mr. Nixon. 

"I didn't know I could do that," replied Jack. "May I bring 
it tomorrow?" he asked. 

"Of course you may, my boy," and Mr. Nixon smiled into 
the boy's eager upturned face. "I'm glad to know that you are 
starting a bank account. There's nothing like saving systemat- 
ically; even if it's just a small sum every week, it grows rapidly 
and makes one independent." 

Jack kept out a little of his money for Christmas, but next 
morning after first doff, he went into the superintendent's office 
and proudly laid $50.00 on the desk. Presently, he returned 
to his work, leaving his money behind, and in his overall pocket 
neatly wrapped to keep it clean, he carried a "bank book." 

"Mr. Jones wants you in his office," said Steve Laney. 
"Guess he's goin' to raise you about somethin'. What's you 
been doin'? Somethin' always happens when a feller is called 
to the office." 

Jack gasped. A frightened look came into his eyes. The 
day before a man had been called to the office and never returned. 
A policeman was waiting there to arrest him, and carried him 
away. Had "Mis' Florence" found him, he wondered? Was 
he about to be carried home,, and tried for murder? His knees 
grew weak and a feeling of utter desolation swept over him. 

"Is — is — there anybody in there with Mr. Jones?" he finally 
managed to ask of Steve. 

"Naw ! Mr. Nixon was in there, but he's gone now." 

Jack forced himself to the office, turned the door knob, and 
walked in. Mr Jones was writing, but stopped, turned in his 
chair and welcomed him with a smile. Jack stood first on one 
foot, then the other, looking altogether uncomfortable, and 
waiting for the overseer to speak. Some new wrenches were 
lying on the desk. Mr. Jones picked them up, handed them to 
Jack and said : 

"You are promoted to head doffer. Here are a couple of 
new wrenches, a present from Mr. Nixon, and you are to have 
the use of Jim Grant's tools, all you wish. He will teach you 
to use them during your spare time. Learn to run a section." 

"Why, Mr. Jones!" exclaimed Jack. "I never thought of 
such a thing — so soon ! Thank you. But ain't there other boys 
that will expect a raise before me?" 



60 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

"That's all right, my boy — merit wins in this mill. I've kept 
my eye on you and I want you to know that you are appreciated. 
Every superintendent and overseer watches to see who is worthy 
of promotion. Do your best, Keep up your studies. Stick 
like a leach. Aim for the top and you'll get there ! Your wages 
will be 75 cents per day for a while." 

Mr. Jones then dismissed Jack with a wave of his hand and 
resumed his writing. Jack walked out with the wrenches in his 
hand and a wonderful elation in his heart. Jim Grant, the head 
section man, met him with a smile and motioned him to come 
over to his work bench. The doffer boys were crowded in the 
big alley watching to see what was going to happen to Jack. 

"Gosh! He's got some wrenches — bet he's been raised!" 
exclaimed one. 

"Yes, he's got Sam Short's place as head doffer. Sam is fired 
for cussin' us," explained Steve. "I knowed what was goin' to 
happen when he went in there." 

"Golly! there's four of us ahead of him!" exclaimed one 
of the largest in surprised disappointment. 

"Naw!" said Steve, "they ain't! Narry one of us ain't fit 
for a raise, an' we hain't never thought of getting fit. Jack's 
worth all he gets, an' I hope he'll get all that's comin' to him. 
Let's give three cheers for our new head doffer. Come on boys," 
and Steve led , the way to where Jack stood with Jim Grant. 
Caps were tossed high and such lusty cheers went up that the 
sound penetrated the office and Mr. Jones rushed out to see 
what had happened. He took it all in at a glance and returned 
to his desk, glad that the boys were all pleased, while Jack, his 
eyes bright with gratitude and his cheeks blushing over such an 
ovation from the boys, could only look at them and smile his 
appreciation. 

"Say something to them," whispered Jim Grant. Jack 
gripped a wrench in each hand, coughed, cleared his throat, 
shuffled his feet and looked deeply embarrassed, but finally he 
said: 

"Thank you, boys — I know we'll all get along together— 
and be good friends." Then to get away from them, Jack went 
and hid in the water closet, bathed his face and tried to regain 
his composure. He examined his wrenches, turning them in 
his hands lovingly. He could hardly realize his good fortune. 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 61 

He wondered though how he was going to keep up his studies, 
now that he would be busy between doffs. 

It was impossible to study at the boarding house. Every 
room was full — even the family apartments were crowded and 
Jack was such a favorite with the children that they couldn't be 
kept away from him when he was there. He had managed to 
make them understand with the help of Mr. Baxter, that they 
must never intrude on him in his own quarters, and so he and 
Joe could feel absolutely at ease and have no fear of being inter- 
rupted when in the barn. Oh, if he could only have a light there ! 
Well, he'd still have half an hour at noon — he'd study then. 

Just before the noon hour, Jim Grant, who boarded at Mr. 
Baxter's said to him : 

"You and I have a job for the noon hour, and I have ordered 
our dinner sent to us. We've got a big order for a certain grade 
of goods, and wish to change some gearing. We have to hustle 
to keep up with the weave room, and can save time by making 
some of the changes at noon." 

"All right," was the good-natured reply, but Jack realized 
that he would not see his book that day. Mr. Baxter brought 
dinner, and his kind gray eyes beamed proudly upon the boy. 
He felt that he deserved a little credit for Jack's good fortune. 

"The barn ain't good enough for ye no longer, Jack — you're 
gettin' to be boss now, and will have to move into the house," 
laughed Baxter "Yes, whoever heard of a boss man livin' in 
a barn." 

"Oh, stop teasing," pleaded Jack. "I'm just the same boy 
that slept in the barn last night — I ain't a bit better, nor a bit 
bigger. I'm proud of my raise, but it won't give me the swell 
head. I like my little room in the barn with just Joe, and I'm 
not going to move." 

"But that place won't do, Jack. It will be cold later on. 
You'll have to have better winter quarters, an' we'll be glad to 
have you in the house," continued Baxter, his eyes twinkling 
and at every chance he'd bestow a sly wink on Jim Grant, who 
tried to change the conversation. 

"Jack takes to machinery like a duck to water," he declared, 
with his mouth full of pie. Just then Joe dashed up the steps, 
tracking Mr. Baxter, and on seeing Jack, gave a joyous yelp 
and leaped up on the work bench by his side. 



62 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

"Thought I was lost, did you, old boy?" and Jack wound one 
arm about the dog's neck. Joe begged to stay in the mill, but 
Jack made him understand that he could not, and he returned 
with Mr. Baxter. 

Jack worked hard that day. He missed the rest between 
doffs, and was very tired, but happy, when night came. 

"I've already fed an' watered the stock, Jack. I didn't have 
much work today, and had nothing to do. You eat your supper 
before ye go to your quarters," said Baxter, as he stopped Jack 
in the yard. Jack always went straight to the barn from the 
mill, and looked after the stock before ating his own supper. 

"Thank you, Mr. Baxter; but if you do my work, I must 
pay my board," was the reply. 

"I ain't goin' to do your work often," laughed the man. "I 
just done it this time 'cause — well, jest 'cause," and Baxter 
pushed Jack into the kitchen, where supper and more congratu- 
lations were waiting. 

He helped to clear the table and wash the dishes, then went 
to the little room in the barn, that he had learned to love so well 
and looked on as home. When he opened the door he was dumb- 
founded. A brilliant electric light swung over the table on 
which was a pretty new cover and several nice books. The room 
had been ceiled and papered and some pretty pictures hung on 
the walls. The floor was covered by a pretty rug and a real 
washstand with nice drawers and large glass, had replaced the 
dry goods box. A curtain hung across one corner of the room, 
and a willow rocker with soft cushion and headrest was placed 
by the table. The old oak bedstead had been replaced by a nice 
white iron one, and the pretty chintz covering rolled back, show- 
ing soft pillows and warm blankets. 

"Joe !" said the boy with a lump in his throat as he backed 
out : "I guess we'll be going — somebody has moved in on us." 

A suppressed giggle came from behind a pile of hay and a 
child's voice cried out : 

"Oh, no, Jack, it's all for you ! Santa Claus has paid you an 
early visit," and Ina Nixon, the superintendent's 10-year-old 
daughter, sprang out before him, followed by Nellie and Ned 
Baxter, while Mr. Baxter himself brought up the rear. Mrs. 
Baxter, too, puffing from a run from the kitchen, rushed in just 
as Ina caught Jack's hand, saying : 

"They made you stay in the mill at noon so they could get 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 63 

it finished as a surprise for you. Daddy says you're the wonder- 
fulest boy he ever saw, and he's about to kick hisself for not 
looking after you sooner. He says you'll be a superintendent 
yourself some day, if you stick and you'll do that, won't you?" 

"You bet I will!" declared Jack, with shining eyes. 

"Well, it is nice, sure enough," said Mrs. Baxter. "But 
I'm afraid we'll never get Jack in the house now," and she went 
inside the room and examined the chair cushion. That and the 
head rest, were made by Ina and her mother presented the chair. 

Nellie had made and contributed the pretty brown linen 
tables cover, embroidered with daisies, and Mrs. Baxter gave 
the new table. 

Mr. Nixon would have done all the furnishing but Baxter 
wouldn't hear to it, and so both families contributed to the com- 
fort and pleasure of the orphan. 

"Wonder what the curtain's across the corner for?" 

"Oh!" laughed Ned, "that's for Jack to hide behind if he 
isn't properly dressed when ladies call." 

"Who's goin' to call on me," grinned Jack. 

"We'd like to, if you'd invite us," said Nellie, nodding to- 
ward Ina, who instantly scored a point. 

"Oh, Jack! Let's have school here every evening after 
supper. We'll help you, and you can help us." 

"Good!" replied Jack, "but I'm afraid I can't help you 
much," he added doubtfully 

"One good thing — it ain't never much cold here," said Mrs. 
Baxter. 

"If it gets too cold, I'll have daddy to give us an oil heater. 
We've got several," said Ina. "If he's afraid for it to stay here, 
we can carry it out when we finish our lessons." 

Christmas came and Jack saw his first Sunday school 
Christmas tree. He had bought pretty, inexpensive remem- 
brances for each of the Baxter family, and for all the doffer 
boys. Ina Nixon ; too, received a lovely embroidered handker- 
chief. Each package had been neatly wrapped and tied with 
narrow Christmas ribbons and contained a little Christmas card 
signed "Jack." These had been smuggled to those who had 
charge of the tree. 

He was surprised to get quite a number of presents him- 
self, besides the Sunday school fruits and candies. That Christ- 
mas always stood out distinctly in Jack's mind, as the most won- 



64 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

derful he had ever known, and the happiest since the death of 
his mother. 

The winter proved mild, and according to arrangements, 
our four young people had a delightful time studying in Jack's 
cosy room. Ned Baxter shook off the dullness that made him a 
laggard in his class, and became thrilled by the influence of 
Jack's energy and ambition, making such rapid progress that his 
teacher was astonished. Ned was afraid that Jack would catch 
him — and he studied as he never had before. 

CHAPTER VIII. 

The following Spring Jack bought a two-gallon ice cream 
freezer and learned to make cream, which he found was eagerly 
bought. It was no trouble to dispose of two gallons at the board- 
ing house on Saturday evenings and there was a big demand for 
it at the park and ball ground. He soon had such a trade that he 
bought another churn, and hired Ned Baxter to help him. 

For a few weeks Ned worked with a will, but spent his 
money as fast as he made it. Then he decided that he couldn't 
confine himself to business on Saturdays, after studying hard 
all the week, and he told Jack so. 

"But, Ned. you have lots of time — and you are making your 
own money. Your father buys everything you need and you 
could save what you make with me and invest it, or put it in the 
bank and draw interest," said Jack. 

"Save nothing — I can't save. I haven't got a cent of the two 
dollars I made last Saturday. What it's gone for I don't know. 
I've got nothing to show for it," and in spite of all Jack could 
say, Ned quit, much to the disappointment of his mother, who 
gave him a "piece of her mind." 

"Jack ain't never had no chance, but he's goin' to- be 
somethin', an' have somethin'. I've worked an slaved day in an' 
day out ,to send you to school, an' I don't recon' you'll ever earn 
the salt in your bread," she grumbled. 

Jack found a nice, clean colored boy, who promptly executed 
his orders, bought ice and everything necessary, and soon learned 
to make the cream. He became better and more satisfactory 
help than Ned had been and worked for less. Business was so 
good that Jack made plenty for all his expenses, and during the 
whole summer deposited his entire mill earnings in the office. 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 65 

He did not neglect his duties to Mr. and Mrs. Baxter, both 
of whom became greatly attached to the boy. He had offered 
to pay for his board, but both had declared emphatically that 
his services were worth more than his keep, and had often urged 
him to take a room in the house; but he refused. He knew he 
would have to room with Ned, and he preferred to be alone with 
Joe. Jack stuck to his books, too. Except on Saturday nights 
and Sundays, he had two solid hours of hard study. During 
work hours, Jack faithfully and religiously performed his work. 

The superintendent and overseer kept an eye on Jack and 
marveled. They noticed that the boy never failed to pick up 
bobbins or clean waste that he saw on the floor; that he had a 
quick eye for defective machinery, a quick ear for anything that 
had not been properly oiled, and that he took great interest in 
his work. 

"There's something in that boy," they would say to each 
other." But Jack was all unconscious of the fact that he was 
the subject of admirable comment. 

One day a small, pleasant-faced old gentleman called to see 
the superintendent and while in the office Jack came in with a 
report, which he carefully filed on the superintendent's desk. He 
was about to pass out, when Mr. Nixon stopped him. 

"Jack, come back a moment, I want you to meet the mill 
boys' friend— Mr. G. S. Escott, editor of The Mill News. Mr. 
Escott, this is Jack Armstrong, one of our future men of note,, 
if I'm not greatly mistaken." 

Jack doffed his cap and came forward, blushing modestly. 

"I'm glad to meet you, Jack," was the hearty greeting of 
the South's most beloved Textile editor, and Jack felt the thrill 
of sincerity in the firm handclasp and cheery voice. 

"And I am more than glad to meet you, Mr. Escott. I've 
seen several copies of The Mill News and like it." 

"How would you like to read it every week, my boy? Mr. 
Nixon has been telling me about you. I feel deeply interested 
in all mill boys, and especially those who are energetic and 
ambitious," said Mr. Escott. 

"The price is only one dollar per year — less than two cents 
a week, you see," smiled the editor. "But if you will promise 
to read it, and in future years give it credit for any help it 
may give you. you shall have it a year free of charge." 



66 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

"Why, thank you, Mr. Escott, of course I'd do that — but 
let me pay for it," and Jack drew a dollar from his overall 
pocket. The superintendent laughed : 

"Better take it, Escott — you ought to see his bank account." 

But Mr. Escott was busy writing Jack's name. 

"What address?" he asked. 

"Barnyard Avenue," teased Mr. Nixon. 

"In care of Baxter Heights," smiled Jack, "and thank you 
sir." 

"You are welcome, my boy. All I ask is that you read and 
profit by it Here's a copy of last issue. You will always get 
your paper on Friday." 

Jack has never been without the paper since. He studied 
it carefully and followed the advice of Mr. Nixon he clipped and 
treasured rules and calculations found in its pages, pasting them 
in a big scrap book for future refernce. He did not understand 
them all at first of course; but the superintendent had assured 
him that they would "come in handy" some day; and now that 
old scrap book is one of Jack's most valued possessions, furnish- 
ing a fund of information, such as no book published has ever 
gotten together. 

Jack often had a bitter struggle to resist the temptations 
of his companions to join in their sports and larks. Because he 
would not smoke, they called him "Sainty." When he clung to 
liis books rather than attend shows and carnivals, they called 
him "Granny." But he registered a vow to "make a man of 
himself," and he knew that he was making good. He believed 
that his rapid progress in his studies was largely due to the fact 
that his intellect had never been dulled by the use of the filthy 
and poisonous cigarette. 

He could afford to listen to taunts when he realized how 
he was outstripping the taunters. His wages had been raised, 
and now he was making one dollar per day, considered in those 
days a man's wages. He was becoming an expert frame fixer, 
and was often given charge of a section for an hour or two, 
when any one of the fixers asked "out" to attend to business 
at home or in town. 

Time passed on and when Jack had been two years in the 
mill, he decided to break the monotony by giving the boys a 
party. He spoke to Mr. Baxter about it, saying that he wanted 
to treat the boys to cream, and have a little fun, all to them- 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 67 

selves. The big barn was an ideal place for a gathering of 
youngsters, and about sixteen spinning room boys, ranging in 
age from twelve to sixteen, received the following invitations, 
each reading them on the sly, and religiously keeping silent: 

"Dear Friend: You are invited to my room Thursday 
evening at 8 o'clock. Don't tell anyone else, and don't fail to 
come. Cream will be served. Jack" 

"Cream will be served!" Jack's cream was known to be 
extra fine and every boy, anxious to have his appetite appeased, 
kept the secret, hoping that no one else knew. 

Baxter helped Jack with his arrangements and also made 
some arrangements on the sly, which we hope our readers will 
forgive. He had the boys' confidence and knew that the party 
would be interesting. 

The night arrived, and promptly at 8 o'clock, the guests 
filed in, each glaring jealously at the other, and wondering how 
much cream Jack had; then sighing with satisfaction as they 
saw both his churns standing packed in ice. There were two 
long benches in the barn, borrowed by Baxter from the mill 
lawn, and a large table had been laid with a white cloth, on 
which were plenty of ice cream saucers and spoons, and a great 
glass bowl of wafers. Half a dozen lanterns were swung from 
the rafters, giving a bright mellow light, and "Jack's boy" 
(Sambo, his colored helper), had actually dressed in his 
immaculate white duck "waiter-suit" and cap, that Jack made 
him wear when helping at the park and ball ground. 

Jack welcomed his guests and showed them his room, which 
many of them had never seen. 

"This is my home, and Joe's," he said. 

"No one ever intrudes on us here without an invitation, and 
so I get to read and study with more satisfaction than you can 
guess," showing them his books. 

"Gee ! I wish I had a nice room to stay in at home," exclaim- 
ed one wistfully. 

"Me, too," said another. "I wouldn't ever want to go out 
at night, if I had a nice place to stay in, — a room to call my own." 

"I'm goin' to ask mother to give me a room to myself," said 
Steve Laney. "We've got two upstairs we don't use and if she'd 
give one to me I'd keep it cleaned up myself jest so I could call 
it mine," he said. 



68 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

"Boys don't get no show," said Tommy Dawkins. "Gals can 
have rooms to theyselves, an' have purty little things in 'em ; but 
boys have to squeeze in jest anywhere, outten the way, an' ruther 
then smother we git out on the street an' that means bad com- 
pany sometimes. I guess our parents don't think about boys, 
much." 

"Maybe that's why boys ain't blamed much as gals if they 
go wrong," said one of the oldest. "They don't get no snow — 
and everybody knows it — and there ain't much expected of 'em. 
Nobody is surprised if they 'sow wild oats.' " 

Under the long wagon shelter back of the barn three men 
were listening. They were Superintendent Nixon, Overseer 
Jones and Baxter. A plank had been ripped off and a full view 
of the big barn room was given. The superintendent could hear 
every word and was thinking fast. 

The boys now came out of Jack's room, and the men noticed 
a very serious expression on the young host's face. He was as 
large now as any sixteen-year-old boy in the room. The way he 
had grown the past two years was something wonderful, thanks 
to Mrs. Baxer. 

"Have seats, boys," said Jack, kindly Then with one hand 
on the table he stood and faced them. 

"Boys, if asking you here and showing you my room 
makes you dissatisfied at home, I shall be sorry. I wanted us to 
get together and have a nice time, celebrating the second anni- 
versary of my coming among you. You have all been kind to 
me, and I wish I could make you understand how I love you 
all. None of you have had a harder life than I." 

"Tell us all about yourself an' where you came from," asked 
one. Jack's face turned white, and he was silent for a moment. 

"Friends, it's too sad — don't ask me. I'm an orphan — all 
alone in the world, and hiding from a stepmother who stole my 
father's heart and home from me. Don't ask me more," he 
faltered. 

"I told Mr. Nixon about it the day I asked him for a job, 
and he took me in and helped me. I'll never forget it, and if I 
ever amount to anything I will owe it to him and my good friends, 
Mr. and Mrs. Baxter. Boys, I thought we would have some fun 
tonight. I wanted to have Joe perform for you, but I fear some- 
thing has happened to him. He has been missing the past hour. 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 69 

Then, too, your remarks about your homes and why you go out 
at night, has set me to thinking." 

The men behind the barn listened eagerly. Jack continued 
earnestly : 

"I wish we could manage some way to keep you interested 
at night, and keep you off the streets. You are all such good 
boys and ought to have a chance. Isn't there some way? Can't 
you outwit fate? As the old saying goes, can't you stand your 
ground and fight the devil with his own weapons? Boys, who 
are going to fill the vacancies that must come in the mills, bye 
and bye? How many of us are thinking of the future? I've 
learned a lot by reading Mill News the past year. We think that 
overseers and superintendents don't notice our struggles, but 
I'm beginning to think they do. They have to send off for over- 
seers, just because none in their own mills are qualified. Let's 
see to it, that the spinning room boys shall represent our mill 
somewhere in the future. I memorized a little poem the other 
day, which I am going to recite. Somehow, it helped me a lot 
and maybe it will help you." Then the listeners were amazed 
and thrilled with unexpeced eloquence and oratory, as Jack 
recited slowly and with great power of expression, his whole face 
lighted with earnestness and enthusiasm : 

"Be strong! 
We are not here to play, — to dream, to drift. 
We have hard work to do and loads to lift. 
Shun not the struggle, — face it ; 'tis God's gift. 

Be strong! 
Say not the days are evil. Who's to blame? 
And fold the hands and acquiesce — shame ! 
Stand up, speak out, and bravely, in God's name. 

Be strong ! 
It matters not how deep intrenched the wrong, 
How hard the battles goes, the day, how long ; 
Faint not, — fight on ! Tomorrow comes the song." 

Applause came in lusty cheers and hearty hand clapping. 

"Jack, you're a preacher!" "No, he's goin' to be a lawyer!" 
"A mill superintendent!" "Gosh no! — he'll never stop till he 
gits to be president!" were the excited exclamations, as Jack 
finished. 



70 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

"May I say a word?" asked Steve Laney, springing to his 
feet. 

"Sure you may, Steve. — Let's hear from any one who has 
something on his mind," said Jack, happy to see Steve looking 
very much in earnest. 

"I'm so full I'm about to bust, an' I don't know how to say 
what I want to. But Jack, here's my hand," and he walked to 
Jack and they stood there gripping hands and looking each other 
in the face. Steve turned to the others still holding to Jack. 

"Boys, we are all darn fools, if we don't turn about face an' 
march different to what we've been doin'. I never hearn any- 
thing to beat Jack's speech. Let's all make Jack a leader, an' 
let him make somethin' outen us if he can." Jack blushed. What 
he had said was not premeditated and he had just realized what 
he had done. He had never before made a "speech" and this had 
just bubble up from his heart, unexpectedly. He had completely 
forgotten himself in his interest in the boys, and now was over- 
whelmed as they crowded around him eagerly : 

"We'll follow you anywhere, Jack," they cried. "We want 
to be something, but we don't know how, an' chances are mighty 
slim." 

"I don't know what to do," stammered Jock — "what can I 
do for you? You all have parents to teach you — " 

"They're too busy — we want something with you in it, 
Jack," they cried. 

"I'll have to think it over, boys — say — will you all meet me 
here again next Thursday night?" 

"Sure, we will," they chorused. 

"Alright, then. I will try to think by then, what can be 
done," he stammered almost overcome by his emotions. Then 
he turned to Sambo, who had stood by silently with an appre- 
ciative grin on his black face : 

"You may serve the cream now." And soon the boys were 
served to their favorite delicacy, and it was easy to see that some 
of them had reached a climax in their lives. 

The men under the shelter realized that a great moment 
had come to these boys. They had reached the "crossing." 
Which road would they take? They were ready for action — 
eager for battles to fight, — longing for victories. Into the heart 
of the superintendent there crept a resolve. He would help Jack 
to "find a way." 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 71 

Jack laughed and joked with the boys and tried to hide 
from them the fact that he was worried so, over the absence 
of Joe. Ah ! perhaps Mrs. Baxter had found it necessary to send 
him to the postoffice, — or to the market. He whispered to 
Sambo to go and ask her. 

Sambo ran out and presently returned, saying that Joe 
had gone to the postoffice to mail some letters, but had been 
gone longer than usual, and Mrs. Baxter was uneasy too. 

"Boys," said Jack, "I am very much afraid something has 
happened to my dog. He's never done this way before. Seems 
to me I couldn't live without Joe. He has been my playmate 
for seven years. I know he can't live always — but he is not 
old — and has never shown signs of age. Boys, how long do dogs 
live?" 

"Law, Jack, our dog is old as I am," declared Steve Laney, 
quickly. "Joe will live many years yet. Don't you worry about 
him. Everybody in this town knows Joe. The papers are always 
printing something nice about him. No one would hurt your 
dog — and he wouldn't let hisself be stole." 

"We'll all turn out and help you find him if you want to go 
look for him," declared Tommy Dawkins. Sambo had been out 
in the yard and now dashed into the barn excitedly. 

"Gawd amighty, Mister Jack, Joe's a commin wid a burgler ! 
He done kotched somebody an got 'im by de cote tail an leading 
'im in," and Sambo backed up in one corner, just as Joe came to 
the door with his prisoner, and barked joyously. He left his 
charge for a moment and dashed to Jack, then dashed out in 
the yard. 

"What is it old boy?" and Jack, followed by the others, 
rushed out to where a little old withered colored man stood 
leaning on a stick. 

The men had hurried from behind the barn and were at the 
corner coming to the front. One of the boys had taken down a 
lantern and stood in the door holding it above his head. Joe 
leaped from the old darkey to Jack. Jack rushed forward for- 
getful of everything and gathered the old man in his arms. 

"Oh, Mose! Mose! Dear Mose! Good Mose! Can it be pos- 
sible?" he said, laughing and crying, while the old man kept 
repeating : 

"Lil' Marse — oh, lil Marse ! Didn't I tole you so? Honey lam' 
de Lawd done brung us togedder agin — an' Joe was His good 



72 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

agint. Oh, lil Marse, am dis yo' shore enuff ? I's bin lookin' for 
you honey, mitey ni eber since yo' bin gone. Oh, how you has 
growd! Bres de Lawd fo' His mercies!" 

The superintendent whispered something to Baxter, who 
nodded his head, and he and Mr. Jones silently slipped away in 
the darkness. Then Baxter quietly went to Steve Laney, wisper- 
ed something to him, and presently the crowd had dispersed 
feeling that there was something too sacred in the meeting of 
Jack and this old darkey for them to gaze upon. 

CHAPTER IX. 

Jack looked around, thinking to explain to his friends what 
they had more than likely guessed, that Mose was "an old friend 
from home," but was surprised to find that all had gone. He 
drew a sigh of relief and thankfulness. Now he could have 
Mose all to himself, and there were so many things to talk 
about, — so much to explain. 

"Come, sit down, and tell me everything. How did Joe find 
you?" asked Jack, as they both seated themselves in the barn 
door, with Joe at their feet. 

"Honey, hit beat eberting, — he grabbed me by de britches 
an' pulled me back ez I wuz a gittin' on de train. I had trabbled 
all ober de town de las' two days lookin' fur ye. I bin a trabblin 
to diffrunt places an' makin' all kinds of inquiries, but dey ain't 
nobody eber hearn tell o' a boy named Jack LeGrande." Jack 
smiled, and replied : 

"I am Jack Armstrong. And you were leaving?" 

"Yes, I wuz des gettin on de train when I felt sumpin pullen 
me back by de laig, an' when I seen Joe I des fell offen dem 
steps and flung my arms roun' his neck an' hollered 'Glory!' A 
big orficer wid a blue coat on grabbed me an' say : "What's de 
mattah niggah? Is you got de jimjams? Come erlong wid me.' 
An' he got me by de arm, he did, an 'low he gwine ter lock me 
up. Den Joe he rar up on dat man an' look him in de eye an' 
growl, an' de man turnt me loose. Den Joe he got down. De 
man he say: 'Niggah, better 'splain yerself ! Youse been loafin 
roun' here two days now — Fse been watching ye, and didn't I 
kotch ye stealin dat dog?" Sez I: 

" 'Mister, dat dog's massa is mine, an' Fse been looking for 
him gwine on two yeah. Doan lock me up ; I ain't done nuffin 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 73 

'tall — des a lookin fur my 'lil marse what lef home an got lostetiV 
Joe growled at him again, den grabbed me by de coat tail an' 
started off wid me an de man sorter laff , an sed : 

"Well, go 'long niggah ; f rum de way de dog acts, I believe 
he knows you; an me and Joe come on." Joe got up and placed 
his paw on Mose's knee, and stood there looking into the old 
black face with a world of love in his brown eyes. 

"There never was such a dog," declared Jack, leaning over 
and patting Joe. 

"Honey, is you been well? But I knows you is frum de way 
you's growed. Who wuz all dem boys dat wuz here dis now?" 
asked Mose. 

"They were some friends of mine — some of the mill boys. 
I was giving them a party. I'll give you some ice cream when 
you rest a little." 

"Lil' marse does you mean facktery folks? You ain't 
soshatin wid dem is you, now honey?" asked the old man, 
anxiously. 

"Mose, I'll tell you everything soon as I can. But don't you 
know what I'm dying to hear about first, and am afraid to ask?" 
and Jack took an old black hand and stroked it tenderly. 

"You means about Mis' Florence and Arfur? Dey is bofe 
well." Jack sprang to his feet with a low cry. 

"Mose! oh, Mose! Is Arthur alive? Didn't I— didn't— " and 
Jack sank down on the ground, shaking with sobs. Mose lifted 
the boy in his arms. 

"Honey lam' is you been thinkin' dat all dis time? Hain't 
you neber hearn nuffin from nobdy? Is dat turrible thing been 
yo' company day an night?" and the old man choked down for 
a moment thinking of what Jack must have suffered. 

"Yes, chile, dey bofe well. I'll neber forgib mahsef fo' 
sendin you off lak dat, but Gawd knows I acted 'cordin to mah 
lights. I'se prayed day an night dat de Shepard let me fin' dis 
los' lam 'fore he gedder me into de sheepfold," said the old man. 

"It turned out all right, Mose, and now I'm perfectly happy. 
Oh ! I'm so glad I'm not a murderer ! Now tell me about Mammy 
Dilsie." Mose heaved a sigh, then looked up into the heavens. 
Pointing with his trembling finger, he said: 

"Honey, you see dem stars? When you wuz 'bout fo' year 
old you axe me one night if dey wuz holes in de flore ob heben, 
an wuz de brightness de glory a shinin' f rew. You got dem purty 



74 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

ideas from yo' ma. She wuz allers tellin' you about heben. Lil' 
Marse, Dilsie up dar, an I 'low she lookin' frew de fiore an' 
watchin' ober Mose." 

Oh! my good mammy Dilsie," sobbed Jack. "I'll never 
see her again! Tell me all about it, Mose — did she suffer?" and 
he clasped the old hands tighter and tighter. 

"No, honey, she neber wuz sick a minute. We wuz fixin' to 
go to bed, an' wuz a holding our fambly prayers. She wuz a 
kneelin' at de big rocker what yo' ma gib her, an' she neber got 
up no mo' ; she wuz a leadin' de prayer, dat night an her las' 
words wuz, 'Oh, Lawd, don' forget 111— Marse Jack!' Den she 
stop, she did, an' I 'low she des obercome wid her feelins and I 
took up whar she lef off an finished. When I sed a'men,' she 
never riz. I 'low she wuz des a communin wid de Lawd, an' I 
eased off to bed. I lay dar, an' watched an waited, an' she neber 
moved ner made no soun'. Den a sumpin clutched my po' ole 
h'art wid a big fear, an' I called her. She neber answered, an' 
when I got up an' went to her, I seen dat her sperrit had gone to 
glory." Mose paused for a moment and drew his hand across 
his eyes ; Jack was sobbing unrestrainedly now. Mose continued : 

"Dat wuz de las' day of August, atter you lef in June. An' 
now, I'se foun' you, an' bress Gawd I'se ready to answer de roll- 
call, too. Oh! lil' Marse, lil Marse! Hit's a great thing to be 
ready. Is you ready, honey?" 

"Oh, Mose, no! but I wish I were. I am so happy and 
miserable, too. Am so glad Arthur is living and so sorry Aunt 
Dilsie is gone and I'll see her no more. But I have you — and 
Joe." 

"Honey, you gwine ter see her if you git ready fo' de 
journey, f 'low she's yo' ma's hand-maid, up dar, des as she 
wuz here ! Dat would please /ier better'n anything elese, an' de 
good Lawd gwine ter let everybody have dey pleasures up dar." 

For some little time neither spoke. Jack's heart was stirred 
with many emotions. Present^ he sprang up : 

"Mose! you are tired and hungry — I'll go to the house and 
get something for you. I was so proud to see you I almost forgot 
it. You are sure it's you — and you won't be gone if I turn my 
head?" Mose laughed softly : 

"Honey, I ain't never been a spook but once — does you 
'member dat night?" 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 75 

"Well, I guess I do! Didn't we have some fun? But, now 
you stay right here till I get back," and Jack started for the 
boarding house. When he had reached the lot gate he paused, 
then ran back. 

"Mose — I — am so afraid it's all a dream ! But you are here 
— you won't be gone when I get back, will you?" and Jack 
reached out and touched the old gray head to make sure it was 
all true. 

"Honey, I shore is here, an' dey ain't no joke 'bout bein' 
hongry. Des you run erlong an git me a piece o' bread 'cause 
my inners is gettin mighty oneasy, an' raisin' a tumble fuss," 
and Jack darted to the house, where he found Mr. and Mrs. 
Baxter together 

"Mother Baxter," (all the boarders called her that, and so 
did Jack) "the dearest friend I have on earth, the old man who 
has always known and nursed me, has come and is hungry — " 

"Here's a waiter all fixed for him, Jack — we thought some- 
thin' of the kind. 'Pa' was out in the lot when he come, and 
heard enough to make him guess more," said the good woman 
kindly. "Take this to him. Let Sambo come to the house 
directly, and I'll send some quilts out there, too, to fix him a good 
pallet." 

"Sambo has cleaned up and gone, but I will come and get 
them myself. Oh, you are so good! You've been a mother to 
me, sure enough," murmured Jack. "I'd like for you both to 
come out and see Mose and let him tell you all about me. When 
you took me in I was the most miserable boy on earth. I thought 
I was a murderer, but oh, I'm not — I'm not! Come out and let 
Mose tell you everything." 

"We'll be out there directly with some quilts," said Baxter, 
and Jack hurried back to Mose. 

It was past midnight when Baxter and his wife left the barn, 
where they had been given a full history of Jack's life and their 
eyes were dim with tears over the recital. Mose had been told 
of all that had happened to Jack and some of his prejudice 
against "factery folks" had been removed, while he ate ice cream 
and listened. 

Mose had left his home in the hands of his daughter and her 
husband, who had stayed with him since Dilsie died, and had 
taken what money he had saved and started on his hunt for 



76 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

Jack, doing odd jobs, cutting wood, cleaning yards, hoeing 
gardens and anything he could find to do, to help pay his ex- 
penses and he had a few dollars left. When he learned that 
Jack was determined to stick to his job in the mill, Mose said: 

"Well, lil' Marse, Fse gwine ter stay too. I 'low I kin fin' 
enough to do to pay mah way, an' I ain't neber gwine ter leave 
you no mo." 

"No, Mose, you shall never leave me, and I'll never leave you. 
We'll fix it somehow — don't you worry — we'll never again be 
separated. I'll never be able to repay you for all you've done 
for me. I don't want to go back home. I don't want them to 
know where I am or anything about me. Mis' Florence and 
Arthur are welcome to everything. I'm so happy over the 
thought that I'm not a murderer, that I can forgive them all the 
past. I'm going to make some thing of myself, and some day, 
when I have become as accomplished as Arthur, I'll go home to 
see them." 

Mose was delighted with Jack's room and examined every- 
thing in it with great interest, while Jack told him all about how 
and by whom it was furnished. 

"Uh, huh!" grunted Mose, comically. "One little gal fixed 
de cheer cushion, an anudder leettle gal fixed de table kiver. 
Atter while, maybe one of 'em gwine ter fix you, ha! ha! You 
soon gwine ter be a man honey, an' a mighty fine lookin' man, 
too. I hopes de right one will git tangled up in yo' heart strings." 

"Shut up," said Jack, in disguest. "I've got no use for 
girls, and never shall have. Nellie Baxter is the best girl I ever 
saw and has helped me a lot with my studies. So has little Ina 
Nixon. But that's all." 

The quilts were spread on a pile of soft sweet hay, where 
old Mose stretched his weary limbs. Jack was very careful to 
see that the old man was comfortable, then he retired to his 
room. For a long time he lay awake, his heart throbbing with 
both pain and pleasure, mixed with longing. He was not satis- 
fied. Father, mother and Dilsie were in heaven, and Mose was 
ready at any time to join them. Dilsie had died praying for him. 

"Hit's a great thing to be ready! Honey is you ready?" 
Mose had asked, and the words seemed to burn like coals of fire 
into his brain. No! he was not ready. He realized his weak- 
ness. He wanted something — he knew not what. He thought 
with an aching heart of his companions. They wanted him to be 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 77 

their leader. They were looking to him for help and for encour- 
agement. What could he do for them? Tears filled his eyes. 
He sat up in bed, leaned his head in the open window, looking up 
into the starry heavens and whispered : 

"Oh, Mama, Papa and Dilsie! Can't you come and help 
your poor Jack? Tell me how to get this ache out of my heart. 
I ought to be so happy tonight, but am miserable. I wish I 
were good like Uncle Mose. Oh, I wish I were ready to meef you 
in the skies. How do folks get 'ready', I wonder? I wish I knew. 
I'll ask Mose tomorrow." 

At last Jack fell asleep and was almost immediately awaken- 
ed by his little alarm clock. He rose instantly and hurried to the 
house to light the fire in the range, just as he always did, then 
returned and fed the stock, being very careful not to awaken 
Uncle Mose, who had been told the night before to go to the 
kitchen for his breakfast. 

Jack didn't feel like work that morning, but had never yet 
lost a day and was determined to not lose this, the first day of his 
third year. The "wheel was rolling" when he reached his place, 
something that had never before happened. The overseer's face 
lighted up as he saw Jack and beckoned to him. 

"Got a section for you Jack — John Ames has a position as 
second hand in another mill, and we want to do him the favor 
of letting him off without his having to work a notice." Jack 
gasped and his heart gave a bound. 

"Thank you, Mr. Jones," he managed to stammer, as they 
both walked toward the section in question — one of the largest 
in the room. 

"Do you think Steve Laney would make good in your place 
as head doffer?" asked the overseer." 

"I am sure of it," replied Jack eagerly. "He is popular 
with the boys, and has a good honest heart." 

"He was always considered the worst boy in the mill, and 
absolutely impossible until the day you came," smiled Jones, as 
he thought of how he had won Steve by appealing to him to 
"look after Jack." 

"I wish you could have seen Steve and heard him talk last 
night," said Jack, and it was all the overseer could do to keep 
from confessing that he had seen and heard. 

Jack was not surprised when an hour later Steve Laney 
rushed over to him, grabbed his hand, and began to work his 



78 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

arm up and down like a pump handle. His cheeks were flushed 
and his eyes sparkling as he exclaimed: 

"Golly, Jack, we are both promoted! I never expected 
nothin' for myself, but I ain't surprised at you." 

"I'm as glad for you as for myself, Steve," smiled Jack. "I 
hope it won't be our last raise, either. 

"Just see what happens soon as I make a solemn swear to 
f oiler you. Gosh! don't it make a feller feel good to handle a 
wrench? An' say, they want me to learn to fix too. Jack, old 
boy, rip ahead — I'm comin'. I'm a long ways behind you — but if 
I live I'll get there! I've got a taste of promotion now an' I 
like the flaver," said Steve in his funny way. 

"Yes, it's great," agreed Jack. Then he continued: "Steve, 
our party broke up very unexpectedly, didn't it?" And he told 
his friend all about Mose, but couldn't trust himself to speak of 
Dilsie's death. 

"Joe ought to have a gold collar hangin' thick with gold 
medals, tellin' of what he's done," declared Steve, warmly, and 
expressing a desire to meet Uncle Mose. 

When Mose went to the kitchen for his breakfast, Mrs. 
Baxter stayed by and talked to him. She was pleased with his 
courtesy and humility, and having heard from Jack that he had 
always been a kitchen servant, she promptly employed him. She 
had long wanted just such a person, but' had never been able to 
procure one who was satisfactory. 

Jack was worried at first, thinking that "Mother" Baxter 
had employed Mose just to save him from expense and embar- 
ressment, but the good woman finally convinced him that such 
was not the case, and she looked on Mose almost as a gift from 
heaven. 

Jack bought four white duck suits for Mose, which made the 
old man wild with delight, and as he hustled around in the dining 
room in his immaculate suit, a broad grin on his withered old 
face, he became a great favorite with all the boarders, and a 
butt for their good natured jokes. His devotion to Jack was 
beautiful and touching. Of course the story of his and Jack's 
adventures leaked out, with more or less exaggerations, and for 
many days was the subject of village gossip. 

The town papers published a lengthy account of the affair, 
which other papers copied. A week later "Mis' Florence", with 
white face and trembling hands reads it in a local paper. Her 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 79 

guilty heart throbbed with fear in spite of the fact which the 
paper plainly stated, that "Jack and Joe are great favorites 
with the mill officials. The young man is possessed of sterling 
qualities which are fast pushing him to the front in his chosen 
profession. He has just been promoted and the future is full of 
promise. The faithful Mose has been employed in the hotel 
where his young master lives, and is now perfectly happy." 
Without a word she handed the paper to Arthur and pointed to 
the head lines : 

"Boy Lost For Tiuo Years, Found by Old Servant. Brought 
Together By Boy's Faithful Dog." 

Arthur eagerly read the article, punctuating it with excla- 
mations of surprise and consternation. Turning to his mother 
he said: 

"Well. I'll swear ! Do you suppose they'll stay there ? You 
got off light, mother. 'Unable to get along with his step-mother, 
he ran away.' That's all the reference there is to your part of it." 
Mis' Florence leaned back in her porch rocker and gazed 
out over the fields to where the setting sun threw golden rays 
upon two tall white tombstones. 

"It seems that he intends staying there. But, oh! Arthur, 
what will the neighbors say? We've led them to believe that 
Jack was in school in Danville." Arthur laughed. 

"I've an idea that they half doubted it, and that this won't 
be much of a surprise to anyone." 

"Do you know, Arthur, I'm getting tired of it all. I'm 
sorry, sorry. Let's write to Jack and tell him to come home." 
"The devil ! No. It's too late. You ought to have thought 
of that long ago. No, I won't stand for no squealing now. 
Wouldn't you look nice confessing that you had gone thrugh 
your dead husband's pockets, stole and destroyed his last will 
and testament?" sneeringly. It was evident that Arthur held 
the whip now. 

The woman had lost much of her good looks, and dark 
shadows lay around her eyes. Her expression was that of one 
haunted by remorse. She did not resent her son's words, but 
shrank from him as if he had dealt her a blow. 

"Arthur, my boy, don't hurt me so! All that I have ever 

done was for your sake — because I worshipped you," she faltered. 

"Well, darn it, has your love grown less ? What do you want 

to flunk now for? You keep me worried to death. You have 



80 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

lost all the spunk and spirit you ever had — the qualities I so 
much admired," he growled, pacing the porch in front of her. 

"Arthur, did you ever see a ghost?" she asked. The young 
man paused with hands thrust into his pockets and looked at her 
anxiously. Well did he remember the ghost of the island. 

"Mother, what are you saying? Have you seen one?" he 
almost whispered- 

"No, I haven't seen one, but all night long I can hear 
whispers in my ear, 'Where is my child, Flora? Where is my 
child?' Arthur I have betrayed a good man's trust and shall 
never have another moment's peace unless Jack gets his rights." 

"Well, whenever you make a move like that, I'm gone for 
good," snarled Arthur. 

"No danger, my boy; it's too late, as you say," she replied. 
She would meet her God and be eternally damned before she'd 
lose her boy, for whom her soul was steeped in guilt. 

CHAPTER X. 

' 'Jack, the superintendent wants to see you in his office, ' ' said 
Mr. Jones, on Saturday morning after the party. Jack was 
right up with his work and hurried out to the big office, where 
Mr. Nixon greeted him with a smile. 

"How are you feeling my boy? Getting along with your 
section O. K., I suppose?" 

"Am feeling fine, thank you sir, and as to my section, — 
come and see," and the boy's face glowed with pride. 

"I have seen it Jack — and am proud of you," smiled the good 
man. "I didn't see a bit of clean waste or a bobbin on your 
floor yesterday. 'A new broom sweeps clean.' I've no idea you 
can keep things in such apple-pie order as you have begun with. 
Just how did you manage to make such a noticeable difference in 
one day?" Jack blushed: 

"Why sir, it was easy. I managed to speak to every spinner 
as I worked or walked among them, and, asked each one for 
his or her help in making our section the nicest in the room. I 
explained to them the necessity of keeping all clean waste and 
bobbins from the floor — and — and — I think sir, they all seemed 
interested in me, and were glad to do as I asked." 

"No doubt, no doubt my boy. But there's one thing, Jack, 
be kind and courteous always to your help, but don't get too 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 81 

familiar with them in the mill. Keep your dignity and hold 
their respect." 

"I'll do my best, sir," returned Jack. 

"I know you will, my boy, and I had no intention of speaking 
of such a thing. I sent for you because I wanted a heart-to- 
heart talk with you." 

Jack looked at Mr. Nixon very much puzzled. Mr. Nixon 
fingered a paper-weight on his desk and looked through the open 
window. Presently he spoke with great feeling: 

"My boy, I shall always be thankful that God sent you to me. 
He must have guided your footsteps. I have heard all about you 
from Baxter. Mose is a wonderful old man. Jack, I have a 
confession to make. Having some curiosity to see how you would 
conduct your party last Thursday night I watched and listened. 
If the devil tempted me to do it, here's where he'll get whipped 
at his own game. Good shall come of it. 

"I have never been so thrilled, as with your appeal to the 
boys, or so touched as with their plea for help to be something. 
Jack, how are you going to help them? Have you thought of a 
way? Something must be done. It's up to you and me. Count 
on me to help you work out any plan you suggest, that will 
help them." Jack's eyes filled with tears, but he manfully sup- 
pressed them : 

"Mr. Nixon — I — I — don't know what to say, I shall never 
forget how good you are to me. If I ever amount to anything it 
will be because your good heart was opened to me, and because 
you gave me a chance. And — and how can I help the boys? 
They will meet with me again next Thursday night, and I don't 
know what to tell them. If we could have a night school — " 

"We'll have it, Jack!" 

"And some music — " 

"How about a string band? I'll get every boy an instru- 
ment who will attend the night school — and furnish a music 
teacher." 

"Oh, Mr. Nixon, the very thing! Kegular studies two or 
three evenings a week from 7 to 9, and musical instruments to be 
given at Xmas to all who stick." 

"Capital! And the instruments shall be on hand and used 
occasionally to stimulate ambition," exclaimed Mr. Nixon, while 
Jack's cheeks flushed with pleasure. 



82 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

"You can go now, Jack. Keep all this to yourself until 
Thursday night, and see if your eloquence can win the boys to 
hard study. If you can do that, it will be a noble work, and one 
over which angels will rejoice." 

Jack went out with a light heart and a. light step. His mind 
was in a whirl. He blushed over the thought that Mr. Nixon 
had heard his "speech" and was glad that he didn't know it at 
the time. While he worked at his tasks his mind was busy. How 
glad he was that a night school was possible. Nellie Baxter 
would leave in September to attend college, and Jack wondered 
how he would ever get along without her. Ned was not much 
help, and besides he always had something else to do, or some- 
where to go. Ina would not visit him after Nellie left. 

Thursday evening the boys promptly invaded the barn. 

"What's the program, Jack? Have you thought of any- 
thing? We're ready. Speech! Speech!" were the questions and 
exclaimations that greeted him, as he stepped from his room and 
closed the door. Lanterns were again swung from the rafters 
and two long benches furnished seats. 

"Not so fast, boys — give a fellow time," laughed Jack. 
"Have any of you thought of anything? Do you know any way 
in which we can spend an hour or two together each evening, 
in a way that will be mutually beneficial?" 

"An hour or two spent with you Jack, is bound to help us ; I 
ain't felt like the same kid since last Thursday night. You 
pumped somethin' into me that's got me puzzled," said Steve 
Laney. 

"Aw, shut up, Steve, you're jest full of importance," grinned 
one. "Steve's got one o' them up-stairs rooms for hisn', an' it's 
fixed up nice as his sister's — only — his dresser aint ornamented 
with bows and hairpins an' powder an' sich." Tommy Dawkins 
spoke : 

"I told ma about Jack's room an' how bad I wanted one, an' she 
said: 'Tommy Dawkins, you air the limit! What does a boy 
want with a room all to hisself ?' But blest if my ma didn't give 
me an' brother Bill one to ourselves up stairs, an' we promised 
to keep it cleaned up to save her legs." 

"I heard the Super offer ma a bigger house yesterday. He 
said it was better to have more room than not enough, and said 
it was a great thing for boys to have a decent hole to crawl in 
an' to invite company to." Another chimed in : 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 83 

"Well, Golly! I heard pa an' ma say today at dinner, that 
the Super, wanted them to take a larger house so we boys could 
have a room to ourselves. He said boys should be considered 
same as girls. An' he 'lowed that if they had dens of they own, 
boys wouldn't drift away from home so much." 

"Ain't it queer?" exclaimed Steve, "just a week ago we was 
sliced in like a sandwich, just any old way, an' just as soon as 
we make up our minds to be somethin' an do somethin', things 
begin to tumble our way. Ain't it queer?" 

Jack smiled. Mr. Nixon had not told him how he had been 
trying to plead for the boys, but he knew. 

"Well, boys, how about a night school?" he asked. No one 
spoke. Evidently such a thing had not entered their minds. 
They stared at him. Jack continued: 

"We can have one if we wish. It will mean something to 
set our hearts to the task of improving our heads. It will take 
spunk, grit, determination and the qualities that go to make 
good soldiers and strong men. I've been talking with Mr. 
Nixon. He will furnish a teacher and help us every way he can. 
How many boys will volunteer to join the night school? I am 
glad of such a chance myself." 

Steve Laney rose and stepped forward. "I'm with you, 
Jack. It means no picture shows, an' no loafin' the streets — but 
I don't give a hang — I'll stick to vou or bust — lead on — I'll 
follow." 

"All in favor of attending a night school stand up," cried 
Jack, and he was such a leader, so magnetic, so persuasive, that 
every boy promptly rose. Afterward one said: 

"I didn't mean to stand up, but Jack was lookin' right at 
me, an' 'peared like somethin' jest jerked me up." 

"Now listen. Do you all solemnly promise to stick to busi- 
ness? — no flunking?" 

"We promise," came the response. 

"Then I'll tell you something good. Every boy who sticks 
will be presented with a musical instrument Xmas — a violin, 
banjo, guitar, or whatever you wish, and music will be taught 
us free." There was great rejoicing over this announcement. 

Mose came from the hotel with a big bucket of ice cold 
lemonade and a big waiter of cake and served it with the com- 
pliments of Mrs. Baxter. 



84 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

Joe did many stunts that called forth bursts of delighted 
applause, and the boys left Jack, happy and full of hope. 

The night school, taught in the Y. M. C. A. hall, was a 
success from the beginning. Many men and several girls, attend- 
ed; prizes were offered and competition, always a great spur, 
kept them busy and interested. The months rolled on. Nellie 
had gone and Xmas was again drawing near. 

Xmas Eve Jack received a card from the express office 
stating that a large box was there for him. 

"There must be some mistake," said Jack to Mose. "I 
haven't ordered anything and I know that no one has sent me 
anything." 

"Bettah run erlong an' see, lil Marse ; I 'spec it am old Santa 
fur shore. Maby Miss Nellie in dat box, ha ! ha ! I seed how she 
look when she tole you good bye. I knows sh's des' a little 
older'n you is — 'bout a year — but dat ain' nuffin. Go long boy, 
an' git yo' Xmas," and Mose shook with laughter as he watched 
the red blood mount to Jack's white forehead. 

"Now Mose, you know I don't like girls," pleaded Jack, very 
much embarrassed. 

"You'll git over dat, bime by, honey." An' whoop-pee ! when 
you do git to be a man you gwine ter be des lak de Armstrongs. 
An' when you falls in love fur shore, it's gwin ter des saterate 
plum through ye. Lawd! sich courtin' as de Armstrongs could 
do. Dey ain't none of 'em lef now. Your ma's last brother 
died with a broke hart cause de gal he loved turn him down fur 
a rich old man." 

"Well, I'll never let a girl give me any trouble," retorted 
Jack, and Mose laughed heartily. 

"Well go on an' git yo' Xmas. chile," he insisted, and Jack 
hitched one of the horses to the buggy, and drove to town. 

He returned in about an hour, and Mose was astonished to 
see what a long box he carried. It was about six feet long and 
four feet wide, but not very deep. 

"If it wuz deeper it would look des lak a coffin box," thought 
Mose, as he hurried out to meet Jack. 

"Lil' Marse, what is it?" 

Don't have the least idea, Mose, and somehow I don't want 
to open it. I'm just trembling. Feel like something has hap- 
pened — or is going to happen. Oh, Mose, what do you suppose 
it is? It came from Chicago." 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 85 

"Bes' and quickest way to fin' out is to open de box," said 
Mose, as Jack put the box on the barn floor." 

"You open it, Mose, somehow I don't want to. I'm afraid. 
I feel like I'm at a funeral." Mose was a little affected by Jack's 
nervousness, but made no sign. He got a hammer, and lifted the 
boards. All they could see was packing. This was soon removed, 
then there was a sheet of felt which covered the entire contents. 

Jack was on one side, of the box, and Mose on the other. 
Jack hesitated a moment and with trembling hands drew away 
the last covering. For one moment he gazed breathless with 
amazement. Mose, too, was speechelss and leaned forward with 
clasped hands. "It's Mama ! A portrait of my beautiful, angel 
mother," sobbed Jack. "Oh, where could it have come from," 
and with tender care he lifted the lovely picture in its massive 
oak and gold frame, leaned his face against it and wept. 

"Praise de Lawd! Honey doan ye cry — 'pears to me you 
ort to be rejoicin. Hit des lak Mis' Evleyn, an' you, — you ain't 
noticed dat you's on dar too, is you ? But whar did it cum f rum ? 
Dat shore am won puzzle." 

The portrait was in natural colors, and though Jack was not 
and artist he could see that it was very expensive and a great 
triumph in art. 

"Mother, my mother ! Dear angel mother, ( did you send me 
this from the skies?" Jack murmured, pressing kiss after kiss 
on the beautiful face, while Mose ever and anon, exclaimed, 
"Praise de Lawd !" 

The picture showed Jack and his mother, when he was about 
three years old. She was dressed in white and her abundant 
golden hair tastefully arranged. She had just risen from a rustic 
seat on the lawn and was meeting Jack with outstretched hands, 
and a world of mother-love shining on her smiling face as Jack 
barefooted and in gingham rompers, came forward with his 
straw hat full of fluffy young chickens. In the background were 
June roses, and cape jessamine, — with spots of golden sunlight 
sifting through the giant oak trees. 

"Where, oh where, did it come from?" Jack kept repeating. 

"It shore am strange," agreed Mose. "I 'members mighty 
well when dat pictur wuz tuck, but Mis' Evelyn los' it, or some- 
body stole it, an it never could be foun'. She use ter lay things 
down an' den forgit whar she put 'em, but de house wuz sarched 
high an' low, off an' on, long as she lived, fur dat pictur, an' it 



86 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

des wern't dar, nowhare. But praise de Lawd! Hit des went 
off an' growed a heap bigger an' den cum to you fur a Xmas 
gif ! Hit's de Unseen Han' honey, a workin' fur ye." 

"An' Mose, I'm not worthy. Oh! I wish I were good and 
could feel like you do about dying. But I'd be afraid to die," 
and Jack shivered. "This is too beautiful to keep in the barn — 
but oh, I want to keep it in my room, where I can look at it the 
first thing in the morning and the last thing at night — my beauti- 
ful mother!" 

""Well, chile, keep it dar. Yo' room des as nice as any in 
de hotel. An' yo' kin git a purty scarf an' kiver it durin' de day, 
to keep all de dus' off." 

One of the little Baxter children, with hands full of Xmas 
cookies, came to the door and called: 

"Here's a letter for you, Jack." Mose went forward and 
took the letter, and the child hurried back. 

"Mo' supprises, maybe, lil' Marse," he grinned. Jack took 
the portrait into his room and tenderly laid it on the bed. 

"Maybe this will explain the picture," he said, taking the 
letter. "No — why — it's from home — they've found out where 
I am — somebody has ; maybe it's from Bud Iugram." 

Jack tore the letter open, read a few lines then turned to 
the signature which was, "Your heart-broken Step-mother," then 
he staggered to* a pile of sweet hay and sank down upon it, 
exchaiming : 

"Mose, it's from Mis' Florence! Listen." 

"Dear Jack: I found out through the papers where you 
had drifted, and I am glad that fate has been kind to you. Arthur 
is well, but refuses to forgive you. A few weeks ago, while 
turning the leaves of an old musty book, I found a photagraph 
of your mother and you. I remember how you grieved over 
the loss of your mother's enlarged portrait and I have had one 
made for you which I feel that you will prize even more highly. 
I ordered the artist to ship it so it would reach you Xmas eve. 

"Jack, I am a lonely, sorrowing woman. Arthur is growing 
wilder and more reckless every day, and — he — is not kind and 
loving as he used to be. My heart goes out to you with longing 
and regret. I wish it were possible for you to come home and 
stay, but it would be disagreeable to us both, and is not to be 
thought of. Tell Mose that Sallie has another baby. They are 
all well. 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 87 

"Hope you'll enjoy Xmas, and that you will forgive 

"Your heartbroken step-mother, 

"Flora LeGrande." 

"That sounds sincere, Mose — she must indeed be changed," 
said Jack softly. "How good of her to send me such a thought- 
ful present. She is sorry — I know she is." 

With his old face quivering with emotion and his body 
swaying to and fro, Mose softly sang in a deep, rich voice : 

"Praise God from whom all blessings flow. 
Praise him all creatures here below. 
Praise him above, ye heavenly host; 
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost." 

CHAPTER XL 

Christmas, with its beautiful Sunday school Christmas tree, 
had come again, but the most interesting part of the program 
was the awarding of prizes to those who had been faithful in the 
night school. The spinning room boys, urged on by the energetic 
spirits of Jack and Steve, who were the recognized leaders, had 
made a record. The teachers were proud of their classes and in 
short-to-the-point talks, commended the students for their regu- 
lar attendance and complimented them on their progress. 

Even grown men, who the past June could not read a word 
or write their names, were now able to do both. Jack and Steve 
came in for a big share of the praise. They had become close 
friends and each delighted to see the other honored. All the 
boys of the night school between the ages of 15 and 18 were pre- 
sented with string instruments, and when Mr. Nixon handed out 
the last of the 20 pieces, he looked around in a comical way, 
scratched his head and said : 

"I didn't know these young rascals had it in for me like this! 
I never dreamed when I made this proposition, that more than 
a half dozen boys would win. That was about the size of my 
pocket. When I realized what I was up against, I aopealed 
to the resident for help, telling him that I was in the middle of 
a bad fix ! And what do you suppose he said? Why, just this : 

' 'Nixon, the Company will back you in anything that per- 
tains to the welfare of our operatives. Money spent for educa- 
tional purposes is well invested. It's the reading class of help that 
gives best service. They intelligently perform their duties, and 



88 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

have higher ideals; they don't look upon Capital as a monster, 
eager for their life blood, but cheerfuly perform their tasks, 
accept the wages agreed upon, live honestly, walk uprightly and 
are held in high esteem by their overseers. That's alright, 
Nixon, — go ahead. Educate the people. The company will stand 
at your back in anything you wish to do for our employees.' : 
This brought great applause from the packed church. 

Steve, Jack and four other boys received violins. The rest 
received mandolins, banjos, harps and guitars. Prof. Austin, from 
the city had been employed to teach the boys music, and after the 
holidays this part of their education would begin in earnest. They 
would meet two evenings every week. The regular night school 
met three times a week, so Saturday evening was all the time the 
boys had to "throw away." They soon became so enraptured 
with their music, that even on Saturday nights they preferred 
to practice, rather than loaf the streets, or attend shows. 

Now, let us pay a little visit to "Mis' Florence." A few days 
after Christmas Arthur came striding into her presence, almost 
drunk and in a terrible passion. Taking an open letter from 
his pocket he dashed it at her and exclaimed: 

"So you've actually written to that young devil! And what 
kind of a Christmas present did you send him? I've a good notion 
to visit the darned fool and pay him back for the scar I carry!" 
and Arthur clenched his fist and struck the center table furiously. 
"Mis' Florence" saw and realized that her boy was under the in- 
fluence of whiskey. A great terror sized her heart and she stag- 
gered to her feet, the letter clutched in her hand, and her face 
white with anguish. 

"Oh, my boy, my boy ! You have been drinking. God have 
mercy on me — this is more than I can bear !" she cried. 

"Take a little drink, mumsey, and you'll get back your 
nerve," and Arthur drew a bottle from his pocket and shook it in 
her face, as she shrank from him. He then caught sight of the 
letter, and commanded her to "read it out," and in mortal terror 
she obeyed: 

"Dear Mrs. Florence : 

"I prize the present you sent me more than anything I ever 
possessed. It certainly was a surprise, and when I look at it my 
heart is melted with tenderness. I cherish no ill will against 
you or Arthur. My father had a perfect right to do as he pleased 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 89 

with his property. He gave it to you, and you are wecome to it." 

"Ha! ha!" laughed Arthur. "Wonder what he'd say if he 
knew? How does it make a person feel, mumsey, to go through 
dead men's clothes and destroy wills? Ha, ha! Say, don't 
glare at me like that, darn it ! What's the matter with you, any- 
how?" "Mis' Florence" bit her lips, and her black eyes snapped 
with some of their old-time spirit : 

"Arthur, I don't know how people feel after destroying wills. 
I—" 

"Oh, you don't?" sneeringly. 

"No, I do not," very emphatically. 

"That's right! A lie or two more or less doesn't matter. 
But go on with the reading!" And Arthur sank in a chair and 
waved his hand imperiously. "Go on, I say!' and the poor 
mother had no alternative but to obey: 

"I'm sorry Arthur is still bitter against me. Surely, I suf- 
fered enough during the two years that I thought he was dead 
by my hand. If any one ever bitterly repented for a rash, mad 
act, I have — but I must confess that until now, I have been bitter 
against you. 

" 'It may all be for the best at last. Certainly I am getting 
along better than if I had stayed at home. I can't regret coming 
here. My life is full, and happy. For several months — ever since 
Mose came and told me about Aunt Dilsie's death, — I have hun- 
gred and thirsted for that sweet and simple trust in God's good- 
ness that made her death triumphant, but peace would not come 
into my heart. 

" 'I know now, it was because I had an unforgiving spirit — 
I had envy and jealousy in my heart. I was bitter against you, 
more than against Arthur. My heart was broken when I looked 
on the priceless gift you sent, and while Uncle Mose san Traise 
God from Whom All Blessings Flow' I was emptied of self, and 
filled with the spirit of Christ. Now, sweet peace abides with 
me.' " 

A deep snore came from the depths of the chair, and "Mis' 
Florence" paused, held her breath for a moment, then whispered : 
"Thank God, he's asleep !" 

Softly leaving the room she went to her bed-room and locked 



90 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

herself in. Falling on her knees by the bed, she buried her hot 
face in her hands. 

"How can I bear it — Oh God, how can I bear it? For love 
of my child I've steeped my soul in guilt; and he, knowing my 
sins, dares taunt me with them! Ive lost his love — he doesn't 
even respect me — he is drunk — going straight to the devil — fol- 
lowing in my footsteps!" she wailed brokenly. 

"God pity me! I'm ruined, wretched, and undone! Jack 
has forgiven me — oh, God, won't you?" Instantly there came 
the haunting voice of conscience : 

"Flora, where is my child? Give Jack his rights!" and she 
answered : 

"It's too late — I can't — I can't! Besides Jack is happier 
where he is, he says so himself. No ,no, I can't undo what has 
been done — Arthur would leave me — he might kill me ! Oh, my 
boy, my boy ! to think I should ever live to see the day when you 
would sneer in my face." 

Sallie was busy in another part of the house, and her voice 
rose in song: 

"Ole Satan got a mortgage on yo' soul 
De Lawd'll pay it off ef ye turn ; 
Yo betah put yo 'name on de ransome roll 
Don't yer gwine ter go to hell en burn !" 
"Mis' Florence" stuck her fingers in her ears to shut out the 
chorus : 

"Blow, Gabul, blow! 

My sins done washed away. 
De Lawd's done tuck my mawgage up — 
I ain't got nothing to pay." 

"Mis' Florence" was now reaping as she had sown. She 
had sinned, now she must suffer. To have lost the love and 
respect of her idolized boy, was the most terrible punishment 
that could have overtaken her, yet it was only the natural out- 
come of her own folly. It was not the last time she saw ner 
boy come home drunk — and not the last time that she went down 
on her knees in agony before her God. But she did not approach 
Him in an acceptable manner. She did not want to make resti- 
tution, or, if she did wish to do so, her fear of Arthur held her in 
check. 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 91 

The news of Jack's wonderful present was soon broadcast, 
and his friends from all over the village came to see and admire 
the lovely portrait. Even Mr. Jones and Superintendent Nixon 
had come and stood before it with bare heads and dim eyes as 
Jack drew back the pretty scarf which covered it. 

The weeks and months, each more or less alike, lengthened 
into years. The night school was kept up all the time except 
through July and August, when the different churches held their 
annual protracted meetings. But even during these months, 
though Jack was a faithful church worker, he did not neglect his 
studies. It was astonishing how many odd moments he found 
in which to satisfy his craving for knowledge. The progress of 
all the night school students was a subject of much comment. 

"The Boys' Band" was beginning to attract attention, and 
receive compliments. Prof. Austin had given several concerts 
in the Y. M. C. A. hall and the boys had acquitted themselves 
with great credit. At such times Superintendent Nixon was 
almost beside himself, with joy and pride ,and made rousing 
speeches, in which he never failed to point to Jack and declare 
that he was the inspiration — the leader, in this move for edu- 
cation. 

"Little did I think," Mr. Nixon would say, "that the little 
pale-faced, delicate, hungry boy, who came to my office window 
a few years ago, pleading for work, would cause such a revolution 
for good in our community. There's not a boy in the village who 
is not better through his influence. Joe, too, has contributed 
much to the pleasure of us all, and is a living proof of what love 
and kindness may accomplish, even with brutes. Mose, the dear 
old faithful, slavery negro, whose devotion to his little master 
caused him to leave home and children, and who for two long 
weary years traveled over the Carolinas in search of the boy 
he had nursed from infancy, is loved by every man, woman and 
child in the village. Though 70 years old, Mose is still hale and 
hearty; I hope he'll live to be as old as Methusalah. But when 
he does fold his toil-hardened hands across the most faithful 
heart that ever beat — a heart as pure and stainless as any that 
ever beat beneath a fairer skin — he should have a snow white 
marble monument erected to his memory, so tall that it would 
pierce the skies, and on that monument should be given a com- 
plete history of his life, that coming generations, both white and 
colored, might read and be thrilled with his greatness !" 



92 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 



This would bring down the house with applause, while eyes 
were streaming with tears. Old Mose, on a back seat, would rise 
and bow his thanks, and say in a trembling old voice : 

"Mars Nixon, thankee — but I ain't done nuffin to desarve no 
sich! I des a po' ignerant niggah wid mo' love in my ha'rt den 
sense in my head. 'Deed, I'se been a bad niggah. Des bury me 
by my Dilsie when I die — dat's all I axe. Des give dat muniment 
to po' ole Joe what brung me to lil Marse, at las', when I had gin 
him up and started home." 




JACK AND STEVE 

Jack was twenty years old when the spinning room second 
hand took sick and he was asked to fill the man's place until he 
could return to work. The poor man died, and as Jack had given 
the very best of satisfaction, he was promptly given the 
position. 

Steve Laney had for several months been spare section hand, 
and he was given Jack's section. There were not two happier 
boys in Georgia when this promotion came, though they were 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 93 

grieved over the death of the good man which brought the 
change about. 

This was to be an eventful Summer for Jack and Steve. Early 
in May the Junior Baraca Class had elected Jack president, and 
Steve secretary and treasurer. The class was growing in num- 
bers and doing great good. They took special collections for the 
sick and afflicted, and each week a committee visited those who 
were in distress. Mr. Nixon was the beloved teacher of the 
class, and put his whole soul into the work. He knew that these 
boys were "the salt of the earth" — that in the future when they 
should go out to fill their places in the world, they would be an 

honor to the mill town of A as well as an honor to their 

Maker. The whole village was thrilled with the good influences 
brought to bear upon it through the works of the churches and 
the pastors did not have to preach to empty benches. It was very 
seldom that a family moved away. 

Mr. and Mrs. Baxter were counting the days until Nellie's 
return from college. She would be home early in June, finished. 
Baxter often laughed and declared he was glad she was "finished" 
for her school expenses had about finished him. 

Ina, too, was coming home to spend vacation. She had 
spent the past year in college, and this was her first visit home. 
Mr. and Mrs. Nixon were making great preparations for the 
return of their only and idolized child, and all the village was 
eagerly looking forward to having these two bright girls home 
again. They had been greatly missed from church and Sun- 
day school. They would be home in time to attend the graded 
school commencement. Several students would graduate and 
it had been arranged that Jack should have part in the graduat- 
ing exercises, as he had finished a special course with honors. 

He had pleaded to be left out, but Mr. Nixon insisted, 
declaring that he deserved public honors and besides, it would 
encourage the other boys, who like Jack, had only been to the 
night schools. Mr. Nixon had arranged with the school board 
and teachers, so that Jack should graduate with just as much 
honor as any of the graded school students. 

Jack was to speak, recite, or read a piece, but no one 
knew what it was to be, as he had insisted on selecting his own 
subject and kept it secret. He spent much time and thought 
on it. He was not without pride and ambition, and wanted to 
do credit to Mr. Nixon as well as to himself. Besides — Nellie 



94 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

and Ina would be there. He must show them that he had made 
good use of his time and had taken advantage of the opportuni- 
ties afforded him for improvement. 

Jack knew that he had "fought a good fight." He had 
won against odds, and he was proud of his record — he had a 
right to be. But, he was the same gentle, tender, affectionate 
Jack — not the least high-minded or boastful, and there was not 
a boy in the village who was not proud of his success. 

Nellie came home a day earlier than had been expected. 
She was very attractive and greatly accomplished and Jack 
was almost bewildered by her bewitching beauty and charming 
manners. Her slender figure in simple and becoming attire, 
gave no promise of ever attaining the wonderful proportions 
of her mother's, and there was a world of expression in her 
deep gray eyes, as they rested on Jack's handsome face, and 
manly form. 

At supper she asked Jack to bring his violin and they would 
try some music together, and with his heart in his throat Jack 
went to his room for the instrument. 

Taking a survey of himself in the glass, he was dismayed 
to find that his collar was a little soiled, and he exchanged it 
for a clean one and put on his prettiest tie. He took especial 
pains with his hair, too, beautiful dark gold hair it was now, 
that at all other times was so easily arranged, but on this 
particular evening, seemed impossible to manage. 

Joe watched his master in some perplexity and anxiety. 
He knew that it wasn't Sunday, and that Jack was not going 
to church. He looked up into his master's face and whined 
questioningly, but Jack, busy with his hair, paid no attention. 
Then Joe howled and Jack turned to look at him and read the 
expression in the soft brown eyes. Instantly he knelt and threw 
his arms about the dog's neck. 

"Joe, old boy, don't you worry. You shall go with me. I 
love you better than anyone in the wide, wide world — you and 
Mose. No one shall ever come between us," and Joe was 
satisfied. 

Then Jack picked up his beloved violin, and with Joe by 
his side, went to the hotel, and entered the parlor finding 
Nellie at the piano. 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 95 

CHAPTER XII. 

Old Mose saw Jack enter the parlor, and a smile of satisfac- 
tion blossomed on the wrinkled black face. 

"Lil' Marse gettin' dar now. 'Taint gwine ter be long fo' 
I see him in de swim same es any dese here genelmans. Yah! 
ha, ha!" he laughed, as he made his way out to the barn. "Miss 
Nellie sho' am won purty gal — an' dat ain't all — she's a good 
gal. Whoopee! If lil' Marse des had de LeGrande plantation 
now to offer long wid hissef. Hit des a shame dat he ain't got 
it — it's his'n. I des a gret mind to see some o' dem know-it-alls 
at de cote house, an axe 'em to 'splain some law to me. But 
no — Marse Jack wouldn't take it away frum Mis' Florence after 
his paw done gin it to her — and tain't no use." 

Joe lay down in the porch just outside the open window, 
listening to the music and waited for Jack. Several of the 
boarders, and part of the family joined the couple in the parlor, 
and all were enraptured over the melody of these young voices 
as they blended together harmoniously and in perfect chord 
with the piano and violin. 

After awhile Nellie and Jack were left alone. They played 
a few more pieces together, then Nellie closed the piano, saying : 

"Jack, you have a wonderfully musical voice. We must 
play and sing together often — if you like — but now let's talk. 
It seems ages since we parted — and oh, I am so glad to be 
home again." 

"I have certainly missed you, Nellie, and I too, am glad you 
are home to stay. It will be a real treat to practice singing 
and music with you," and Jack led Nellie from the piano stool 
to the sofa and seated himself by her side, wondering if she 
could hear the wild -throbbing of his heart. 

Jack had never had time to think of girls, and was now in 
the presence of one bewitchingly beautiful and accomplished. 
It seemed hard to talk of school and books and common every- 
day subjects, when he was almost intoxicated with his first 
taste of social life. 

Yet, Nellie was so interested in his success, and so pleased 
to have him confide in her, Jack found that he was soon pouring 
into her dainty ears all his trials and troubles, all his fights 
and victories. 



96 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

"Oh, Jack, how glad I am that I shall see you graduate. 
When you appear on the stage I am going to throw a boquet 
of flowers at you." 

"Please don't, Nellie, — but give me that rosebud you wear, 
right now," said Jack bending over her and looking into her 
sparkling eyes. 

Nellie laughed: "So you just order girls around, do you? 
I won't give it to you unless you ask your very prettiest." 

"And how is that?" Jack asked, half laughing. "I won't 
beg for it." 

"Bed time, Nellie," called her mother, and they both rose 
from the sofa. 

"Alright, mama, I'm coming," answered Nellie. They were 
both standing near the open window now, and with a saucy 
look, half pouting, half defiant, wholly daring, Nellie took the 
rose from her breast, walked to Jack, and pinned it on his coat. 

"Thak you : little girl — now I know it's a free will offering 
and I shall prize it more," and he caught her hand and held it, 
lingering over the parting word. It seemed so hard to say 
"good night." Why he had only had her to himself but one 
little hour. 

"I must thank you, Nellie for the happiest evening of my 
life." 

"Then I hope there are other evenings just as happy, 
Jack," and she looked up into his face with an arch smile. Jack 
trembled. He felt an insane desire to crush her in his arms 
and probably would have yielded to the temptation, but just 
at that moment Joe struck his head through the, window, caught 
Jack by the coat tail and pulled. 

Jack dropped Nellie's hand, stepped through the window 
and hurried toward his room, feeling a little angry with his 
faithful dog. 

Half way to the barn, some one tapped him on the arm. 
It was Steve Laney, and Jack knew at once that something 
was wrong. 

"What is it, Steve," asked Jack, seriously. 

"You!" exclaimed Steve, trembling and in a choked voice. 
"Jack, I've loved Nellie all her life — don't come between us. 
If you care a darned thing for me - if you are the honorable 
gentleman you claim to be,- play fair— give me a chance." 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 97 

"Steve, what do you mean? I didn't know you loved Nellie 
— you have never told me. And — and does she love you?" 

"I don't suppose she does — I did not know I cared for 
her for all time and eternity, but I do. I knew it when I saw 
her come up from the depot today. She gave me a red rose, 
too, at Sunday school once — that's when I began loving her. 
Then she went off to school and I settled down to study — 
because I wanted to be worthy to address her when school 
days were over. You've been a good friend to me Jack, but 
I think I should want to kill you if you took Nellie away from 
me." 

"So you have never courted her — she doesn't know your 
feelings — does not care for you — and you come to me crying 
"hands off," just as if she belonged to you," retorted Jack, a 
little hurt. "I think you are unreasonable, Steve." 

"Maybe I am, Jack, but it's because I love her. Good 
night," and Steve walked away, a bitter, jealous pain in his 
heart. 

Jack stopped and spoke to his dog: 

"Joe, did you know? Was that why you stopped me? Did 
Steve see, and would have killed me? Oh, Joe, Joe, a few 
moments ago I was happy, now I am miserable — and so is 
poor Steve. It must be turture to love a girl like that. And 
she gave him a red rose, too." 

Jack's dreams were troubled that night. He was haunted 
by a pair of gray eyes, and by the misery pictured in the dark 
face of Steve Laney, his best friend. 

Next day Steve ran his section and Jack filled his place 
as second hand, each studiously avoiding the other. This was 
Wednesday, and during the afternoon Jack was standing in 
the big alley, when he saw the superintendent coming toward 
him, accompanied by a vision of girlish beauty in a white dress 
and crimson sash and hair ribbons, that was wonderfully 
becoming to her rich complexion, dark hair and eyes. This 
was Ina Nixon, slender, petite, and graceful as a young fawn, 
the most tantalizingly beautiful creature imaginable. 

With a glad smile wreathing her crimson lips, she came 
straight to Jack, giving him her soft little hand, and congratu- 
lating him on his promotion and on his success in school. 

"Better look out, Daddy, Jack will be wanting your place 
next," she warned her father. Mr. Nixon, looking at Jack's 



98 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

manly figure and handsome features, and noting the admiration 
in his Irish blue eyes as they rested on the lovely Ina felt 
a little disturbed, but not over the thought of losing his office. 

"And how is dear Joe?" asked Ina. Jack smiled appre- 
ciatively : 

"Joe is getting old and feeble, but still takes care of me," 
he answered, feeling that he would like to hug Joe and Steve 
Laney, too. "Yes, Joe is getting old — is nearly eleven years 
old. I know he can't live many more years. If the death angel 
visits him first, I shall be terribly lonely," and the sweet brown 
eyes were full of sympathy. 

"And Uncle Mose — is he still hale and hearty?" 

"Yes, thank you, he looks just about the same, and seems 
just as lively. He is the greatest old darkey in the world," said 
Jack. 

"And Nellie has already come. I'm sorry she beat me 
home," and in his heart Jack was saying, "and I am sorry, 
too. Had I seen you first I would not have made a fool of 
myself, or wounded my best friend." 

"Everything running nicely, Jack?" asked Mr. Nixon, 
feeling that he must say something. 

"Oh, yes, not a hitch anywhere. Those new frames are 
giving complete satisfaction, now." 

"Ready to go, pet?" asked her father, and Ina, nodding 
her dark curls to Jack, passed out, saying: 

"I'll see you get your diploma Friday night, Mr. LeGrande," 
and Jack watched her disappear through the doorway, with a 
queer tugging at his heart strings. 

When she had gone he stood and stared after her, his 
brain reeling. Then after a few moments he drew a deep 
sigh, turned and walked swiftly towards Steve's section. Steve 
was standing at an open window, looking down toward the 
hotel, a despairing expressin in his dark eyes. Jack ran his 
arm through Steve's and gave it an affectionate squeeze. Steve 
caught his breath, and bit his lips, but gave no other sign 
that he had noticed Jack's advances. Jack spoke; and there 
was a world of love in his voice: 

"Steve, don't worry. Nothing shall come between us, or 
mar the beauty of our friendship. Even if I loved Nellie, I'd 
never try to win her from ray best friend. But Steve, I don't 
love her — I never shall. I know now what love is, and I can 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 99 

sympathize with you. I was almost carried off my feet last 
night by Nellie's beauty and charm, but it wasn't love — and I 
have Joe to thank that I did not make a complete ass of myself." 

Steve had now turned and was looking into Jack's face 
eagerly. 

"You mean it, Jack? You don't love Nellie? You won't 
try to win her? Little chance would I have — I know that — if 
you should seek her favor. But I'm afraid you are just giving 
her up, for friendship's sake — seems to me that you are bound 
to love her. I'm sorry I was so nasty last night. But I was 
passing— I couldn't help seeing her pin that rose on your coat - 
and the way you both looked — I just couldn't stand it. For- 
give me, Jack," Steve stammered. 

"There's nothing to forgive, Steve. Here's my hand. Go in 
and win. I shall be Nellie's friend — nothing more. Good luck 
to you," and as Steve crushed his hand, Jack felt a load lifted 
from his heart. 

Jack excused himself that night when Nellie again invited 
him to practice music, saying that he must do some work to- 
ward getting ready for the commencement. He knew that 
Steve was to call on Nellie that evening, yet he saw that she was 
disappointed when he offered excuses. 

It was late when he retired and it seemed that he had only 
closed his eyes, when Joe nudged him in the side, continuously, 
then pulled at him. What could be the matter? Joe never 
made a mistake. 

Ah ! some one was stealthily opening the stable door — some 
one was stealing Mr. Baxter's five hundred dollar buggy horse. 
Jack sprang lightly from bed, jerked on his pants and rushed 
out, just as a dark form leaped upon the horse's back and dashed 
toward the gate leading to the big road. 

"Go for him. Joe," hissed Jack, at the same time springing 
forward after the thief. Joe needed no second bidding — his 
fighting blood was up. He sprang like a panther upon the 
horse's back, buried his fangs in the man's shoulders and to- 
gether they fell from the back of the frightened horse, rolling 
at Jack's feet. 

In the darkness Jack could not distinguish man from beast. 
Suddenly the man rose with Joe fastened to his back and Jack 
grappled with him. There was the quick flash of a knife and 
while Jack dealt a terrible blow squarely between the man's 



100 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

eyes, he felt the keen steel enter his side. Both fell together, 
and though Joe's teeth were old and he feeble, he fought with 
all the vigor of youthful days. 

The thief, wielding the terrible knife cut and slashed un- 
mercifully, while Jack, growing weaker and weaker from loss 
of blood, fought with his bare hands. 

Presently all was still, and there was only the tramping of 
the horse as it wandered about the lot, frightened over the smell 
of blood. No one had been awakened. None knew of the ter- 
rible thing that had happened, or dreamed of what the morning 
light would reveal. 

CHAPTER XIII. 

"Well!" exclaimed Mrs. Baxter in surprise, as she looked 
into the kitchen, and saw no fire in the range. "I wonder what 
is the matter with Jack? Goodness knows, he don't have to 
make fires, but he's always insisted on doing it, and this is the 
first time he has ever overslept. Poor boy, he is studyin' too 
hard, tryin' to get ready for the big-to-do, and no wonder he 
couldn't wake." Mrs. Baxter jerked the lids off the range in a 
hurry, piled in the wood, added a dash of kerosene and the fire 
was soon roaring and ready for the cook. 

Just then she heard Mose and looking from the window she 
saw him running toward the house, gesticulating wildly and 
preaching and praying, she couldn't understand which, and 
acting as if he had gone crazy. Mose came tumbling on, and 
was soon in the yard, and near enough to be understood: 

"Murder! Murder! Bloody murder!" 

"Gawd a-mighty !" he cried, "Marse Jack an' Joe done been 
murdered. Somebody come quick! Lawd in heben, come take 
ole Mose, too! I doan want to lib no longer," he shrieked. "I 
done let somebody kill mah chile!" 

Mrs. Baxter jumped from the low window, screaming as 
she ran, and Mr. Baxter, hearing the alarm, turned out bare- 
footed and gave chase, with Nellie in a kimona, bringing up the 
rear, her face white with terror and anguish. 

What they found in the barnyard froze the blood in their 
veins. There lay Jack, cold and silent in a puddle of blood, and 
just. a few feet away lay the thief, with Joe's teeth clenched in 
his throat. The faithful dog, covered in blood, relaxed his hold 
as Mr. Baxter drew near, whined piteously, crawled weakly uo 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 101 

the side of his master, and began licking the pale face with 
his pink tongue, and setting up a dismal howl when he failed 
to get a responsive caress or word of affection. 

"Phone for the police and all the doctors," shrieked Mrs. 
Baxter, shaking her husband. "Go quick. Oh, it can't be that 
our dear Jack is dead," and with a sob and a prayer, Baxter 
moved with the greatest rapidity of his life to execute orders. 
Nellie dropped down on the ground and lifted Jack's head in 
her lap, sobbing, but not hysterically. 

"Bring some water, mother — call for Ned — or somebody. 
We must save Jack and Joe, — oh, Jack, dear Jack, speak to 
Nellie," and the girl bent and kissed his brow, bathing his face 
in her tears. 

In an incredibly short time, the faithful telephone had 
spread the news. Breakfast was forgotten at Baxter Heights. 
Superintendent Nixon, his wife and Ina were soon among the 
crowd which gathered at the scene of the most terrible tragedy 
the town had ever known. The mill whistle blew, but so few 
went to work that the "wheels stopped" until noon. 

Two doctors arrived in an auto, totally disregarding speed 
limit, and after a hurried examination, shook their heads 
gravely. 

"The stranger is dead," they said, "and Jack cannot pos- 
sibly live — he's lost too much blood. There's just a spark of 
life — just a little flickering of the pulse that is almost imper- 
ceptible. Oh, if he could have been found sooner." 

"Doctor, for God's sake, don't say Jack must die. He 
shan't die!" cried Steve Laney, falling on his knees by Jack's 
side. "Oh, doctor, I've heard how blood can be fused into one — 
take me, take my blood and give to Jack," baring his strong 
muscular arm and holding it out entreatingly. 

Nellie's eyes brightened as she looked up at Steve, and she 
whispered : 

"God bless you, Steve — oh, God bless you! How good you 
are." 

"And I am strong and healthy — if a girl's blood can give 
him strength give him mine," cried Ina, clasping the doctor's 
arm. "Doctor, he must not die — our noble Jack — he shall not 
die," she sobbed. 

"We'll do all we can. Let's get him to the house." 



102 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

"The hotel is too noisy — take him to my house," commanded 
the superintendent, and Ina gave him a smile of thanks. 

"Oh, we can't consent to that," began Mrs. Baxter, but the 
doctor silenced all objection by declaring that Jack must have 
absolute quiet, and ordered that he be carried to Mr. Nixon's 
home. 

In the meantime another doctor had arrived and was caring 
for Joe as tenderly as if he had been a human being, having 
been told by Baxter that no time or money must be spared in 
his efforts to save the dog. And while Jack was being moved 
so tenderly on a stretcher, the doctors were making a careful 
but hurried analysis of his blood and Steve's in order to see 
if the two would blend properly, and were delighted to find the 
trial a success. 

There was a glad, hopeful light in Steve's dark eyes as he 
stood by the bed of his friend and gave of his heart's blood to 
save him from death. Nellie and Ina paced the carpeted hall 
outside the door, their arms around each other as they waited 
in agony and suspense for a word of hope from the doctors, 
who were so busy inside. Mose knelt by the door and prayed 
for the Death Angel to "pass on by," just as he had prayed 
when Jack struggled with pneumonia years before. 

"Oh, poor Jack — there's no commencement exercises — no 
graduation with honors now for him," said Nellie in a choked 
voice. 

"No, not now, but oh. what a hero he is. Why that thief 
was a large, powerful man, fully fifty pounds heavier than Jack, 
yet the dear boy fought him with his bare fists, and saved your 
father's horse from being stolen. If it had not been for Joe, 
though, the man might have killed Jack," said Ina shuddering. 

"I wish Jack had not known. I wish the man had gotten 
the horse and gone, rather than this should have happened. 
Oh, if Jack and Joe should die," groaned Nellie. 

"Don't say it. Nellie — Jack must not, shall not, die. Steve 
will save him— let's pray silently that we shall soon hear good 
news from the doctor. Let's pray for Joe, too. It would kill 
Jack to lose him." And arm in arm, with white faces, bowed 
heads and aching hearts, the girls walked up and down the hall 
sending up silent petitions to heaven for the restoration of Jack 
and Joe, pausing to pat old Mose on the head, and speak to him 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 103 

comfortingly as they passed the bowed figure, writhing in 
anguish. 

The porch and lawn were full to overflowing with people, 
who waited anxiously for hopeful news of the beloved Jack and 
Joe. Their good qualities were discussed in whispers and in 
voices choked with emotions. How they were loved. 

Joe had been given a cot in Jack's room, and Mrs. Nixon 
and Mrs. Baxter were assisting the doctor to bathe and dress 
his wounds, which were many. It seemed countless hours, before 
the door opened and Mrs. Nixon came out, softly closing it be- 
hind her. Mose and the girls rushed forward holding their 
breath, longing, yet dreading to hear — fearing the worst. 

"Please, mistis — for Gawd's sake, give us good news," and 
old Mose clasped his hands entreatingly, shrinking at the first 
sound of her voice. 

"His pulse is a little stronger, but it will take some time 
yet. Steve will save him, the doctor thinks, and I have never 
seen such joy as that pictured on Steve's face, as he heard the 
verdict," said Mrs. Nixon, putting an arm around each girl, 
for both looked ready to faint. Mose fell on his knees and lifted 
his clasped hands while tears rolled down his wrinkled cheeks : 

Hebenly Marster! I thanks Ye. I wuz a bad niggah to not 
wake up to help lil* Marse an You's mighty good to not let me 
die under sich a burden o' guilt an' shame as dat. Thank ye, 
good Lawd ! Thank ye ! An' please doan' let old Mose sleep so 
hard no more. Gin me health and strength to nuss mah chile 
an' Joe back to health, den take me to Dilsie when ye see fit," 
he prayed, while Mrs. Nixon and the girls stood with heads 
bowed reverently. 

"It's going to be hard on Steve, though," continued Mrs. 
Nixon, "for it will take a lot of blood to revive Jack. The dear 
boy's life was oh, so nearly gone. I shudder to think of what 
even five minutes more would have meant." Nellie turned even 
whiter as she whispered : 

"God bless Steve — he is a hero, too." 

"Mama, can't I take Steve's place?" Ina asked, wistfully. 
I'd like to do it — please let me." 

"No, darling, Steve vows that he'll give every drop of blood 
that he can spare and live, and that no one shall take his 
place. His love for Jack is the most beautiful thing I have 
ever seen." 



104 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

"Jack would have done the same for Steve, I'm sure," 
declared Nellie. "Their devotion to each other is something 
unusual, and very remarkable." 

"Now tell us about Joe," Ina asked. 

"I can hardly say — but we try to hope for the best. He 
was cut unmercifully — took many a thrust that was aimed at 
poor Jack, no doubt. We got his wounds nicely dressed, and oh, 
he was so patient and seemed so grateful. He doesn't act like 
a dog at all, and obediently drank his medicine — lots better 
than some people would." 

"Yah, an 'dat dog's got a soul, too. Doan tell me Joe wont 
go to heben, — kase if he doan day ain't none to go to — dat's all," 
declared Mose, and no one contradicted him. 

Mrs. Baxter now came out, her face bright with hope, as she 
brought more news : 

"Yes, thank God, he's getting some color and his heart 
beats stronger. The doctor told Steve that he had given enough 
blood now, but Steve insisted on giving more — says he ain't 
feelin' a bit weak — but he's gettin' mighty pale." 

Nellie's gray eyes brightened with admiration and she 
caught her breath in quick gasps. 

Oh, I'm so glad — so glad," she faltered. 

"I could just hug and kiss Steve," declared Ina, and Nellie 
glanced at her apprehensively. "Can't we slip in just a second 
and see Jack?" asked Ina. "We won't speak a word, and will 
be quiet — oh, let us see him so we may forget the horror of his 
pale bloody face — it's before my eyes all the time." 

"And we want to see Steve — we want him to know how we 
admire his courage and bravery. I don't delieve the doctors 
would have* mentioned fusion if Steve had not suggested it," 
said Nellie. 

"An' dey mus'n keep me out much longer — I des can't 
stan' it," declared Mose. "My place is right side o' lil' Marse. 
He'll want me." 

"I'll see if the doctors will let you in," said Mrs. Nixon, 
looking searchingly into the girls' faces and heaving a troubled 
sigh. 

Presently the girls and Mose were allowed to enter. The 
operation was over, but Steve, weak and pale, still sat by the 
bed and bent eagerly over his friend, who had not yet spoken, 
but seemed to be resting. He did not look up as Nellie paused 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 105 

by his side. Mose bent forward and gently stroked one of 
Jack's hands. The pale lips moved and all listened for the 
whisper : 

"Nellie — " Steve dropped his face in his hands. Ina's dark 
eyes grew darker, her cheeks paler. Nellie's hand fluttered to 
her breast, — she seemed choked: 

"Nellie, — take — back the rose. Give — it — to — Steve," 

came the weak voice, and Steve looked up searchingly, wistfully, 
and questioningly into the girl's face. But Nellie was watching 
Jack, who now raised his hands, holding them out entreatingly : 

"Ina — dear little — brown-eyed pansy." Mrs. Nixon, in 
great confusion, hurried Ina from the room, while Nellie, her 
heart throbbing with contending emotions, hastily followed. Mr. 
Nixon and Baxter looked at each other questioningly and 
silently shook their heads. The doctors beamed at each other, 
and one turned to Steve with congratulations : 

"Young man, your friend owes his life to you." There's no 
doubt now, that he'll get well, unless blood poisoning or other 
complications set in. He's badly cut — but nicely fixed up now, 
and we are sure he'll pull through. It's hard to kill a young man 
who is in love, and has so much to live for," he added with 
a smile. 

"Mose," came a voice from the pillow, and Jack smiled 
weakly into the old black face bending over him. "Where — is 
—Joe?" 

Joe heard the loved voice, whined and struggled feebly to 
rise and go to his master. The poor dog was just a bundle of 
bandages. 

"We is bofe of us right here wid ye, HI' Marse, praise 
Gawd," said old Mose, stroking the golden hair. Two of the 
doctors lifted Joe, quilt and all, and placed him on the bed by 
his master, and their eyes filled with tears over the dog's feeble 
thanks, and Jack's appreciation. 

"Did the thief — get — away?" Jack asked. 

"No," cried Baxter, coming forward. "Joe killed him. The 
police has got the skunk — whoever he is. He mighty ni finished 
you Jack, but Joe saved you — Joe an' Steve." 

"Steve?" and Steve bent over the patient, and spoke 
soothingly : 

"There, Jack, be quiet. I didn't do a darn thing, only 



106 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

divided blood with you; you had leaked dry. Now, hush, go to 
sleep and rest." 

A world of love and gratitude shown in Jack's face and 
clinging to Mose's hand on one side, and Steve's on the other, 
he soon fell asleep with Joe's brown eyes eagerly watching him. 

Nixon slipped out and joined his wife. Ina had retired to 
her own room Mrs. Baxter and Nellie had dispersed the crowd, 
sending them away hopeful for the recovery of Jack and Joe, 
and they, too, had gone home. 

"Well," choked Mrs. Nixon. "I'm sorry you brought Jack 
here. He is in love with Ina." 

"I believe he is — but is that anything so terrible? He's 
the finest young man I know,' 'answered her husband, smiling. 

"But they are too young— Ina has three years in school yet— 
I'm afraid she won't finish," said the mother. 

"Do you suppose she cares for Jack?" 

"If she doesn't, she will — who wouldn't? Oh, I love Jack, 
but I'll never let him or anyone have Ina — our only baby." Mrs. 
Nixon burst into hysterical sobs, and her husband took her in 
his arms, and tried to soothe her. 

"There, dear, we won't cross the bridge until we get to it," 
he said. "But, if the children were old enough, we certainly 
could not object. Let's think no more about it." 

"I shall certainly take every precaution to keep Jack and 
Ina apart. We'd better get a trained nurse, I think. She and 
Nellie will want to take possession of the sick room. Nursing 
a handsome patient is in itself a romanetic appeal to any girl. 
It just won't do, dear," continued Mrs. Nixon. 

The doctors now came from the sick room, and Mr. Nixon 
hurried out in the hall to speak to them. 

"How are our patients?" he asked. 

Both resting beautifully. I guess we ought to apologize 
for putting the dog in bed — but — " 

"Not at all ,not at all, doctor. We hardly look on Joe as 
a doe-. He's welcome to the best bed in the house," declared 
Mr. Nixon. 

"That he is," added Mrs. Nixon, joining them. "There 
has never been such a dog as Joe, never such a devoted servant 
as Mose, and — and never a finer young man than Jack. And 
doctor — hadn't we better have a trained nurse?" 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 107 

"I don't think it necessary. The young man, Steve, his 
friend, declares he intends to nurse him, and, when Jack gets 
stronger, visits from those two pretty girls will do him more 
good than a trained nurse," added the doctor laughing. 

The 'phone rang and Mr. Nixon answered : 

"Hello! Police headquarters? Yes, this is Nixon. Doing 
fine. Yes, Joe is resting, too. Doctors sure both will recover. 
Nothing on the thief to identify him? Too bad. Yes, of course 
— but if his people should see the ad. and know the circum- 
stances, they'd hardly claim the body, I think. Yes? Alright — 
Good-bye." 

And the body of the thief, who was about 40 years old, was 
never claimed and was finally buried, unknown. 

CHAPTER XIV. 

It was late Thursday afternoon when Jack opened his eyes, 
looked around rationally and remembered. 

"Tell me all about it," he begged, weakly, but persistently, 
when at last all had left the room except Mose and Steve. It 
was quite evident that he would not rest until possessed of the 
details of the tragedy, and it was thought best to humor him. 
Steve told him about it, making no mention of how he had given 
his blood to restore his friend, and Mose chimed in : 

"Dat ain't all, honey. Marse Steve seen you laying dar, 
an' hearn de doctors say it too late — you's los' too much blood 
an' boun' to die, an' he des up an' lammed his fis' in de doctor's 
face an' yell fur him to go to work, you shan't die! Den he 
made dat doctor man fix a curis kind o' pump on to him an' 
dey pumped de blood outen Marse Steve rite into yo' veins, 
till he wuz mitey ni ready to drap hisself an — " 

"Oh, shut up, Mose," exclaimed Steve: "I never even 
felt it — it wasn't anything to do — anyone would have done it." 

"No, Steve, you are the only one in the wide world who 
would have done such a thing for me," said Jack, with tears 
in his eyes, reaching for Steve's hand. 

"I would, Marse Jack, but I done dried up on de stalk — 
ain't go no blood," said Mose. 

"Yes, dear old Mose, I know you would have done it — you 
would do anything for me." 



108 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

"But it wouldn't have done, Mose, not even if you had been 
real good and juicy," laughed Steve. "Just think, if Jack's 
reservoir had been replenished from your supply, he'd be steal- 
ing watermelons and chickens most likely, soon as he could 
travel. We've got to save Jack's reputation as well as his life." 

"Das so, Marse Steve," laughed Mose, "tain't no use to run 
no resks." 

"But some one else did want to do the same for you, Jack, 
and if that had happened, you'd be curling your hair, I expect, 
and going in for laces and ribbons and corsets — " 

"What do you mean, Steve?" and a smile wreathed Jack's 
lips as he looked into the dark face of his friend. 

"Ina offered herself — she begged to be allowed to take my 
place," replied Steve softly. Jack's eyes opened wide in aston- 
ishment, which gave way to tenderness and a feeling of ecstacy. 

"Dear little girl," he whispered, and turned his face to the 
wall. Presently he spoke again : 

"How is Joe? Will he get well, Mose?" Mose was sitting 
on the cot where Joe was now reposing and was putting cold 
wet cloths to the dog's head. 

"Corse he gwine ter git well, honey. He gwine ter be de 
ring bearer when you and Miss Nellie git married." 

Mose did not know of what had happened between Jack 
and Steve, but remembered how on Tuesday night Jack had 
stayed so late with Nellie in the parlor. Steve turned white 
and looked out toward the setting sun. Jack colored in 
embarrassment : 

"Mose that will never happen," he said. "Don't think of 
it again," and he pressed Steve's hand. 

Now 'fore de Lawd, HI' Marse, doan you git no flirtin in 
yo' head — dey ain't no gal kin hoi' a light to Miss Nellie. Did'n 
I see her kissing yo' back to life out dar in de lot whar she 
foun' you? Doan you treat Miss Nellie wrong — she's a good 
gal," rattled Mose, not knowing how he was hurting Jack, and 
disturbing Steve. 

"Mose, for God's sake, hush," cried Jack in distress. 
"Nellie is Steve's sweetheart." Mose looked from one to the 
other in blank dismay, realizing that something was badly 
wrong. 

"Not if she loves you, Jack," choked Steve, trying to smile 
bravely. "But hush, now, I fear you are talking too much. 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 109 

Don't worry about anything. Just get well. I'm your friend, 
no difference what happens." 

Just outside the door stood Nellie, as if rooted to the spot, 
her hands filled with flowers, her face pale and crimson alter- 
nately. She had evidently heard every word. Turning she 
went swiftly out and in a few moments had reached home and 
locked herself in her room. She placed the flowers in a vase 
of water, bathed her face and hands, sat down by her window 
and took herself to task: 

"I won't be a fool,— I don't think I love Jack anyway— I'm 
just in love with his energy, ambition and success. And what 
if / did kiss him" — and her cheeks grew crimson — "it was just 
through pity and — and just such a kiss as I'd give Ned," 
defiantly. "And can it really be that Steve cares for me? He 
has proven himself a hero — he's grand. Well, I'll try to act 
as if I hadn't heard — I'll forget it and be as natural and act as 
sisterly toward Jack, as I can," determinedly. 

It was now Friday evening and "Commencement." Jack 
could see the graded school grounds from his window; and, as 
he watched the crowds gather, he could hardly keep the tears 
from his eyes. The band boys had all been to see him, bringing 
breezy bits of news and gossip to cheer him up ; but all were 
grieved over the fact that poor Jack could not occupy his place 
among them, nor even be present at the exercises. 

Nellie, Ina and other girls had brightened the sick room 
with their presence and had brought beautiful flowers. Steve 
had left Jack only to get his meals. Mose was constantly on 
the alert, trying to do something for Jack or Joe, and the boy 
had not been allowed to feel lonely. He tried hard to hide 
his disappointment and to bear his confinement with patience, 
but the wistful expression on his face made a lump rise in the 
throat of the good superintendent, who had set his heart on 
having Jack to graduate on this occasion. But "man proposes 
and God disposes." Since Jack could have no part in the 
exercises, we will pass them by and hurry on to more important 
things. 

Jack had been in bed a week nursed with tenders! solicitude 
by Steve and Mose, and visited by numerous friends. He and 
Joe were both improving rapidly, when one afternoon Mrs. 
Nixon came to his room and said that a strange lady wanted 
to see him. 



110 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

"Who is she?" asked Jack, very much surprised. 

"I do not know. She would not say, but pleaded to see you. 
She is tall, dark, and really handsome, but looks as if she had 
seen some great trouble or sorrow. 

"Let her come in," said Jack and Steve looked around and 
got his hat. 

"You stay right here, Steve. I've got no secrets from you 
and — and I think I know who she is — I want you to stay here." 

Presently Mis' Florence, in deep mourning, entered the 
room and knelt by the bed. 

"Jack, you dear, dear boy — at last I see you again," and 
there were tears in her dark eyes. Then she looked up at Steve 
and offered her hand. 

"You are Steve Laney, aren't you? — the young man who 
saved Jack's life." Steve bowed awkwardly. 

"I am Steve Laney, — but — Joe saved Jack — not I." 

"Oh, I read it all in the papers, and came as quickly as 
I could." Mose now entered the room and almost fell as he 
saw the visitor. 

"Gawd-a-mighty!" he exclaimed, and Mrs. Florence reached 
one hand to him and smiled through her tears. 

"Have you no word of welcome for me, Mose?" she asked. 

"I dunno. Mistis — deed I don't, Dat's des accordin," Mose 
answered, looking from the window, and ignoring her hand, 
his mind busy with the past. 

From his cot by the window, Joe watched the visitor un- 
easily. Jack had noted the heavy mourning and the lines of 
suffering on the pale face. He noted, too, that her eyes always 
shifted from his. She could not look him squarely in the face. 
At last he spoke: 

"Why did you come? Where is Arthur? Do take a chair, 
please," and Steve placed a rocker near her. 

"No, Jack, let me tell you what I must, here on my knees. 
Arthur is dead," and her voice broke with sobs. Jack groaned 
in sympathy and laid his hand on hers. 

"Oh, when — how — " he began. 

"Ah! but are you strong enough to bear it? Yes? Jack, 
surely in death, Arthur atoned for all the sins of his life. He 
threw a little child from in front of a fast moving train, but 
was caught beneath the wheels and both legs cut off. He lived 
two days, was never unconscious, and prayed earnestly to God 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 111 

for pardon, and peace — and, oh, Jack, I believe he was saved." 

"In corse he wuz, Mistes. De Lawd des had to kill him, 
maybe, to save his soul. Doan yo' neber doubt it — if Marse 
Arfur axe de Lawd to save him he shore done it. He doan 
turn nobody off what axes help," declared Mose. 

"He won't save me— I can't get peace— though 1 pray day 
and night," sobbed Mrs. Florence. 

"Maybe you's done somebody a wrong dat you ain't neber 
righted. Maybe you got malice er envy er jealousy in yo' heart," 
said Mose. And Mrs. Florence turned pale as death. Steve 
stood leaning against the window watching the suffering 
woman with his heart full of pity. 

"It happened last Thursday morning — the very day of your 
tragedy, Jack, and he was buried Saturday. It was Monday 
when I saw about your trouble, and I came as quickly as I could. 
I had promised Arthur to come to you and bring a message 
from him. We would have sent for you, but knew you wouldn't 
get there in time." 

"Oh, I am so sorry for you. Mrs. Florenc — I know how 
you worshipped your boy. What was his message to me?" 
asked Jack. 

"He asked that you forgive him for all the mean things 
he had said and done to you, and said he was glad you had 
not made a wreck of your life like he had. He was very weak 
from loss of blood and could not talk much, but he spoke your 
name often." 

"I forgave him long ago," whispered Jack. 

"Forgive me, too, Jack." 

"I forgave you when you sent me that," said Jack, pointing 
to the picture of his mother, which had been brought to his 
room the day after the tragedy, and when I forgave you, that 
peace which passeth all understanding entered my heart. I'll 
prove that I've forgiven you," and Jack put one arm around 
her neck, leaned his head close to her and whispered : 

"Mother ; let me as far as possible fill the place in your 
heart and life made vacant by poor Arthur's untimely death." 
But to his surprise Mrs. Florence drew away from him, and 
cried out in bitterness of spirit 

"No, No! Wait! You don't know — I have been far more 
wicked and cruel than you think — you don't know what you 
say — you will hate me — but I will confess everything. I plotted 



112 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

against you for Arthur's sake. I tried to wean your father's 
love away from you. I cheated you of your birthright — I've 
been an imposter and a thief! Here!" — and she tore a paper 
from her bosom — "Here is your father's last will. I stole it 
from his pocket when he was brought home dead. His last 
thought in life was for your welfare. Everything is yours — he 
left $8,000 in cash for me. Most of that is gone. Poor Arthur 
was wild and reckless, and always in trouble — but thank God, 
he's safe now." 

Jack was dazed at first and held the will in his hand, looking 
from Steve to Mose and back at the kneeling figure by the bed, 
unable to say a word. His lips began to quiver, as he began 
to realize what had happened. 

"Praise Gawd ! Yes Mis' Florence, I got a welcome fur ye 
— an' glory to de Lawd, dar's more rejoicin ober one black 
sheep dat turns white, den ober a paster full dat's been white all 
de time. De Lawd gwine ter gib ye peace now, Mis' Florence — 
hit's a comin!" and Mose slapped his hands and laughed happily, 
as he capered around the room. 

"Oh, God, I thank Thee," whispered Jack. 

'You— see — now, Jack, how wicked I've been. When I look 
back and see the deception I practiced, and how I plotted and plan- 
ned for Arthur against you, I simply loathe and detest myself. 
I can't forgive myself and God won't forgive me — neither can 
you. Arthur lost all love and respect for me, but I regained him, 
when I told him that I would come to you, and as far as lay in 
my power, make restitution. Oh, Jack, how I have suffered! 
Regret and remorse have eaten into my soul, and the nights have 
been so full of misery and anguish that I dared not extinguish 
the light. There's no need of a hell. To be alone with a guilty 
conscience is hell enough for anyone!" cried the wretched 
woman, rising from her knees. Steve sprang forward and 
tenderly placed her in a chair, where she bowed her face in her 
hands and wept bitterly. 

"Lil Marse, say sumpen," pleaded Mose, looking with com- 
passion on the weeping woman. "She done wrong an she done 
'fessed it all — dat's all she kin do. Can't you forgive her?" 

"Forgive her — why, I have nothing to forgive," cried Jack. 
"Everything has turned out for the best— I would not have it dif- 
ferent for the world." Then he called in a voice full of affection : 



\ 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 113 

"Mother!" Slowly the bowed head was raised, and a look 
of surprise and incredulity gave way to one of joy and peace, as 
Mis' Florence saw Jack's outstretched hands and she again fell 
on her knees by the bed, while Jack's arms were folded about 
her shoulders and he pressed his first kiss on her brow: 

'Mother! The Unseen Hand guides and directs all things, 
making good come of evil, and sending us blessings in disguise." 

"Jack, oh, Jack. I feel that your father sees and knows, — 
and — why — Jack, the burden is gone — I'm happy — I'm free — 
and can it be? Am I indeed saved? Yes, I feel the power of 
pardoning blood." 

"J knowed de blessin' wuz a comin," declared old Mose, and 
Joe answered with a bark of approval and wagged his tail 
joyously. 

Steve could stand it no longer, and escaped through the open 
window, joining Nellie and Ina on the lawn. He had had no 
word with Nellie and Mrs. Nixon had been ever on the alert, 
never allowing Ina to enter Jack's room unaccompanied. 

"What do you think, girls," Steve exclaimed. "Why Jack 
is almost a millionaire! His stepmother has just presented him 
with his father's last will which made Jack rich. Now, by Heck ! 
I guess we'll lose him. You know he won't stay here, now, after 
becoming heir to so much property. It must be something great. 
She said everything was Jack's except eigth thousand, and she 
spoke as if that was quite a small sum compared with Jack's 
portion. Yes, Jacks' a goner now!" 

CHAPTER XV. 

"Gee! Has it really happened? I've always expected it," 
declared Nellie. 

Steve looked at Nellie and she looked at Ina, who began to 
study the toe of her slipper, the rich color coming and going in 
her dark oval face. Presently she spoke : 

"But daddy won't let him go. He can't do without Jack — 
I've heard him say so. Why, he intends promoting Jack to over- 
seer of spinning soon as he gets well. Mr. Jones is going to su- 
perintend a mill somewhere in South Carolina. But there — I 
ought not to have told that! I — I — " There was a break in 
the girl's voice, tears came to her eyes and she fled ignminously, 
leaving Steve and Nellie alone. 

Steve had long pictured this hour in his mind and had 
looked forward with eager anticipation to the time when he 



114 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

could pour out his heart to the object of his adoration, but now 
he felt weak, uncertain and afraid. What if Nellie repulsed 
him and refused to even be friends? 

"Let's — let's sit down a few moments," he stammered, lead- 
ing Nellie to a rustic seat near them, and his heart thrilled with 
hope as she gazed smilingly after Ina, turned her honest gray 
eyes up to him and said softly : 

"I believe they love each other, Steve." 

"I think so, too, darling — ah, forgive me! I am so accus- 
tomed to calling you that in my thoughts that I did so almost 
unconsciously. But, Nellie, dearest, won't' you give me the 
right to call you something even nearer and dearer?" and Steve's 
hand closed over hers. 

"Oh, they'll see us, Steve, warned Nellie, glancing appre- 
hensively toward the house, the blushes mantling her fair face. 
But Steve had felt the thrill of her clinging fingers, and his blood 
leaped in his veins. He knew that the tall shrubbery hid them 
from view, and ; 

"Well, let them!" he cried triumphantly. 

Then Nellie found herself crushed in his arms, and almost 
suffocated by tender, lingering kisses. At last, when she could 
speak she whispered : 

'Oh, Steve, I didn't know love was like this!" Steve pressed 
another rapturous kiss on the quivering lips and asked : 

"Like what, darling? — Tell me," and his dark face glowed 
with happiness. 

"It's — it's like heaven, I think!" was the answer that 
trembled up from the lapel of his coat. 

"Yes, sweetheart. Heaven on earth. Oh, my precious one, 
you have been enshrined in my heart for years and my inspira- 
tion always. When you went away to school, I knuckled down 
to hard work and study, hoping to become worthy of you. If I 
could bear to release you a moment I'd show you something." 

"Well, I command you to release me, sir!" came a half 
smothered voice. 

"I won't do it. There's a challenge and a dare in that com- 
mand," laughed Steve happily. "But I'll let you have the use of 
one little hand and you may feel in my inside breast pocket 
right over my heart and get what you find there." 

Nellie did as she was bidden and drew forth a little flat box. 

"What is it?" she asked. 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 115 

"Open it and see, sweetheart." Nellie opened it and found 
a pressed red rose carefully wrapped in tissue paper. She looked 
at Steve enquiringly: 

"It's the one you gave me years ago at Sunday School — and 
see, it is still fragrant." 

"Oh, Steve! And you have kept it all this time? I never 
dreamed of such a thing," and Nellie put the rose carefully away 
again. 

"Little girl, that precious keepsake has been more to me 
than you can ever know. It has caused me to be strong when 
tempted, and has given me courage when all looked dark and 
hopeless. My own, I know in my heart it's true — I'm not dream- 
ing, but I am longing to hear you say it. Now, this way — in 
perfect trust," and Steve lifted her arms and placed them around 
his neck. "Now, darling!" And then he pressed her to his 
heart, bent his dark head and waited. A low voice, scarcely 
audible, but trembling with happiness thrilled him : 

"I love you, Steve, oh, how I love you!" 

"When did it happen, sweet? Tell me," eagerly. 

"I — I don't know— but I think it was when you gave your 
blood to save Jack," she said, and Steve kissed her again and 
again. 

" 'Scuse me, Marse Steve. I hates to pester ye on dis gloris 
occasion," — Steve released Nellie, who was blushing furiously 
and they stood up before the grinning Mose, who continued: 
"But Marse Jack axe me to tell you to come dar if you ain't too 
busy." 

"Bless Jack's heart, and darn you for a meddling old ras- 
cal!" said Steve with a grimace. "I never was more busy in my 
life. Why, Mose, we've crammed more of life and love in the 
past few minutes than some people experience in a hundred 
years. I'm the happiest man in Georgia." 

"You shore orter be," grinned Mose, looking after Nellie, 
who was running toward home. 

Steve was soon with Jack. 

Mrs. Nixon had met and welcomed Mrs. LeGrande, and 
had taken her to a nice cool room, which she was warmly urged 
to consider hers' as long as she would remain with them. 

"Steve, what's the matter with you? You look as if you'd 
been communing with the angels," said Jack, smiling into his 
friend's happy face. 



116 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

"Just one," grinned Steve, "and Mose caught us red-handed. 
Jack, I'm so happy I'm afraid. Nellie is mine." 

"Oh, I'm so glad, Steve! Congratulations.' ' 

After they had talked it over, Jack said : 

"Steve, I think that you and Mose were the only ones in 
the room when — when — mother made her confession — and — 
and— I—" 

"It will never escape my lips, Jack," Steve assured him, 
knowing at once that his friend wanted to shield the repentant 
woman from blame or censure. "I have never been more touched 
over anything. I think she has suffered enough, and that through 
suffering she has been perfected. I'd do anything to shield her, 
and save her from humiliation." 

"God bless you, Steve. You are one of the finest characters, 
I have ever met or ever expect to know. I'm proud of you and 
your grand principles — your gentleness, tenderness and charity." 

"Oh, hush, you make me ashamed. I do hope to be worthy 
of the pure sweet girl who has given me her heart. But, oh, 
Jack, how we shall all hate for you to leave us. Of course, you'll 
go home, now?" Steve faltered. 

"I don't know yet. I haven't had time to think what I 
shall do," replied Jack. 

The days passed on. Steve went back to his work, the next 
Monday, leaving Mrs. Florence to nurse Jack. Joe could walk 
about the room now, but limped painfully. Ina was allowed to 
go in and out of Jack's room as she pleased, now that his mother 
was always present, and the patient received such loving care 
that he often declared he wasn't going to try to get well at all. 

One day Jack and Mrs. Florence were alone and he spoke 
softly and tenderly : 

"Mother, how do you like Ina?" 

"She's a dear sweet girl — I love her," was the answer. 

"And so do I," whispered Jack, kissing her hand. "But we 
are both so young, and Ina has three years in school yet. I sup- 
pose it would not be right or honorable for me to address her, 
or let her know my heart. I must wait until she has finished — 
must I not ? But it is hard to wait so long without one little ray 
of hope to live on. What must I do?" 

The tears came into the woman's eyes. Jack opened his 
heart to her just as if she had really been his mother and she 
was deeply touched by the compliment. 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 117 

"My dear, let your own good judgment lead you. I know 
you will do what is right. I can't advise you. But talk about 
'hope' — why, I saw in less than a day after my arrival, that you 
two loved each other. She feels for you all that you feel for her. 
You have everything to hope for, Jack." 

"If I were only sure of that I could wait, patiently," said 
Jack. 

"I know it's true, dear boy," the woman affirmed smilingly, 
pushing back his damp golden hair, with a caressing touch. Then 
after a moment, she continued : 

"Jack, it seems awful to be so happy, when poor Arthur has 
so lately been buried, but I can't help it. All the burden of guilt 
and fear has gone from my soul — the barriers between you and 
me have been burned away by fiery trials — all the dross has been 
consumed and the gold refined in our natures. We stand re- 
vealed to each other, and love each other. Oh, Jack, how could 
you ever forgive me?" 

"Mother, it's all over — let's bury the past in oblivion and 
never speak of it again. I can see and realize it was all for the 
best. I can look back and see that I must have tried your pati- 
ence terribly. I was jealous and stubborn, and had a horrid tem- 
per. When I came near killing Arthur," and he shuddered, "I 
learned a bitter lesson. From that day on, I have been able to 
control my temper. Had I not left home, and been thrown on 
my own resources, I should never have made anything of myself. 
I'm sorry for all the mistakes and heart aches of the past, but I 
thank God for His goodness ; for the dear friends who took me in 
and encouraged me to be something and do something; for the 
success that has come to me ; for the joy of this hour, when I feel 
your caressing touch and am confident of your genuine affection, 
and for the future which seems rosy with hope. All things work 
together for good to them that love God, and are called according 
to His purpose. I don't know what the last clause of the quota- 
tion means, mother, but I do know that I love God, and that all 
things have worked together for my good." 

"Even this thing that came near ending your life, Jack? 
Surely, there can no good come of that dear. That nasty knife 
came near putting you away for good." 

"Mother, the tragedy revealed to me the value of Steve's 
friendship, and it brought him and Nellie together. Later, I 
may learn other good that has resulted from it," smiled Jack. 



118 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

Mr. Nixon now came in from the mill accompanied by Bax- 
tex and Mr. Jones. 

"Why, I didn't know it was stopping time," said Jack 
brightly. "Mother just makes time fly." All had previously met 
the lady, and each had a pleasant greeting for her. It had some- 
how gotten out that the lady had found the will in an old coat 
pocket, and that she had brought it to Jack as fast as she could, 
though it put her out of house and home. Mose had dropped 
a word here and there with great cunning which had yielded 
abundant harvest of kind thoughts for the sad-faced woman, who 
nursed Jack so tenderly. They knew that because of a previous 
will, which had given her everything, Jack had rebelled and run 
away from home. 

"Still improving, I see," came the cheery voice of Mr. 
Nixon, placing chairs for Baxter and Mr. Jones. 

"Yes, the doctor says I may get out and go where I please in 
a day or so. The cuts have all healed nicely. I want to get back 
to work next Monday." 

"Now, Jack, not so fast. It ain't been but three weeks today, 
since you was considered worm-food," warned Baxter, uneasily. 

"You musn't rush. Jack, though every one is wild to see you 
at your post. We were afraid that since you had come into such a 
fortune, you would turn your back on us," added Mr. Jones. 

"I'll never forget the friends who have been all the world to 
me since I came here a little more than six years ago," replied 
Jack, warmly, looking from one to another. 

Ina came to the door, smiled into the room, flashed a look 
at Jack that set his heart to beating like a trip hammer, and 
asked Mrs. LeGrande to go with her for a little walk. The woman 
excused herself from the gentlemen and went with Ina. She had 
been out but very little, though Jack had urged her to take more 
exercise and fresh air. 

When she had gone, the gentlemen looked at Jack and each 
other, as if expecting something. Jack was puzzled. 

"So you won't leave us, dear boy? The thought that you 
could not be induced to stay has caused me to lose lots of sleep," 
said Mr. Nixon, moving his chair closer to Jack's. 

"I like the mill better than the farm," said Jack, slowly. "I 
don't know a thing about farming. Still I guess it's my duty to 
go back and take my place in the world of farmers. I almost 
wish that father's last will had never been found. I had gotten 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY 119 

accustomed to depending on myself for everything. To know 
that his last thoughts were for me, gives me more pleasure than 
to possess the property, though it consists of six hundred acres 
of the best land in Montgomery county," said Jack. 

"I'll swigger ! Well, I guess you won't stay in the barn atter 
inheritin' all that," exclaimed Baxter triumphantly. 

"I'll never have a room I like better," declared Jack. 

"We are desperately afraid we can't keep you at all," said 
Mr. Nixon, sadly. "Jack, don't leave use. Jones is leaving to 
accept a better position — going to superintend a mill in South 
Carolina, soon as we can fill his place here." Jack smiled at his 
overseer. 

"Mr. Jones, I'm as glad for you as if the good fortune were 
my own. But I know you will be badly missed here. You have 
made one of the best overseers, and I can look forward and see 
our mill boys and girls rising up and calling you blessed, just as 
they are doing for Mr. Nixon." 

"A superintendent certainly has every opportunity for 
helping the boys and girls and I hope to do some good. I've had 
a good example set before me," nodding at Nixon, "and if I fail 
to follow it, I hope somebody will kick me out." 

Here, Steve entered, and received a cheery greeting from all. 
Baxter continued the conversation. 

"I don't believe there's another superintendent livin' that 
takes sich a interest in his people as Mr. Nixon does." 

"Oh, hush, Baxter," protested the superintendent, "that's 
just because you don't know." 

"I don't believe there are many who would take i na boy 
tramp and his dog, and give them both a chance," smiled Jack. 
"You, Mr. Jones, and Mr. Baxter, have been the best friends to 
me a boy ever had." 

Mr. Nixon looked out across the hills for a moment, with a 
happy expression on his face, then he said softly: "I'd rather 
have a few boys point to me with love and gratitude, and say, 
'he gave me a chance ; he encouraged and helped me to be a man ; 
he is responsible for my success,' — Yes, I'd rather have that than 
the riches of Rockefeller, or to be president of the nation." 

Then he turned to Steve : "Steve, help us to keep Jack." 
The superintendent had decided that his wife's suspicions were 
absurd, and that Jack had no thought for Ina, except as a friend. 
He had learned to love the boy almost as a son, and to think that 



120 ONLY A FACTORY BOY 

now Jack would go back to his country home, and be lost to him, 
perhaps forever, was a terrible blow to the good man, who had 
been denied the blessing of having a son of his own. Mr. Nixon 
continued : 

"We had set our hearts on having Jack take Mr. Jones' place, 
and we know he would want you for his second hand. So, now, 
Steve, you see it's to your interest to help us keep him." Steve 
looked dazed for a moment. Then he sprang up in eager excite- 
ment: 

"Do you think we could do it?" he exclaimed. 

"Jones says he's made Jack do all the work just because he 
was expecting this, and says he can't be beat. We are willing to 
trust Jack," answered Mr. Nixon, smiling over Steve's animation. 

Jack's lips quivered when he tried to speak and for a moment 
he covered his eyes with his hand. 

"Don't say you can't stay, Jack!" pleaded Baxter. "Steve's 
atter my Nellie, an' she's crazy about him, an' I recon if he gets 
to be second hand I'll have to consent. I told 'em I weren't goin' 
to consent till Steve worked up to that, but darned if I thought 
it would come so soon!" Steve's dark face turned a dark red. 
Mr. Nixon looked greatly interested, and congratulated Steve. 
Baxter continued : 

"Now, if Jack was in love with one of our pretty girls, we 
could keep him without any trouble at all." 

Jack turned pale, at this, and turned to Mr. Nixon with such 
longing in his blue eyes that the man rose from his chair and went 
to him; placing both hands on his shoulders, he bent and asked 
softly : 

"What is it, my boy? Must you refuse us?" Jack turned to 
the others appealingly: 

"Will you all take a few moments out on the porch, and let 
me speak to Mr. Nixon?" 

"Sure, we will, my boy," said Jones, smiling and leading the 
way out, followed by Baxter. As Steve passed out his eyes shin- 
ing with hope and anticipation, he bent and whispered in Jack's 
ear: 

"That's right, old boy ! Good luck to you — you are going to 
win." 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 121 

CHAPTER XVI. 

When the audience retired, a feeling of utter desolation 
swept over poor Jack. What was he about to do? Who was he, 
to dare aspire to the heart of this great and good man's only 
child, the sweetest and most lovable, the most bewitching and 
tantalizingly beautiful girl in Georgia? He felt that in loving 
Ina, he had betrayed the trust and friendship of the noble su- 
perintendent who had opened his heart and home to him. Mr. 
Nixon had done so much for him, could he ask for the man's 
dearest and most treasured possession? No, he would go away 
and leave this sweet girl for some one more worthy. 

But here Jack's reasoning took another turn. His heart 
rebelled. W 7 ho would ever be worthy of Ina? Who could be 
more worthy than he? His character, he knew, was spotless. 
He had lived a clean life. How glad he was of that. Jack rose 
to his feet. There was a lump in his throat, his lips quivering and 
the color surged over his fair cheeks as he faced the man who 
had been his best friend, holding the chair for support. 

"Mr. Nixon, I— I — " Jack choked down. 

"Sit down, my boy, you are too weak to stand. Why, what is 
the matter? Does the wound pain you?" And Mr. Nixon gently 
forced Jack back into the reclining chair and bent over him 
anxiously. 

"No, oh, no! The wound has healed nicely — I'm almost 
entirely well. But — " Jack again faltered. 

"Jack, you alarm me. You are flushed and nervous — you 
are — " 

"I'm in love — that's all!" Jack blurted out, "and it makes 
me miserable and lonely to see how happy Steve and Nellie are 
when I don't dare hope for such happiness myself." 

"Well, well," said Mr. Nixon, "and why can't you hope? 
Surely, no girl in her right mind would turn you down, Jack. 
I'm glad you are in love, if as Baxter says, that will keep you 
here. But who is the lucky girl?" and Mr. Nixon smiled encour- 
agingly upon Jack. 

"Mr. Nixon, you have always been so good and kind to me 
that I—" 

"Yes, yes. Tell me all about it, my boy. I'll see you through," 
said Mr. Nixon, wondering who the girl could be. 



122 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

"Don't condemn me," pleaded Jack, grasping the man's hand. 
"I could not help it — I never can help it — I'd die for her any 
minute if — " 

"Yes, I see you've got a serious case of it, Jack — I've gone 
through the same experience and know how to sympathize with 
you. But to live for her is better, and she'll appreciate it more. 
But 'condemn' you? I don't understand. You haven't fallen in 
love with some one unworthy, I hope?" 

"No, no. I'm so unworthy of her. I'll never be worthy — but, 
oh, I'd gladly serve as did Jacob for Rachel, if I might win her — 
your sweet girl — beautiful Ina!" 

Mr. Nixon turned pale, but smiled into Jack's eyes and held 
his hand firmly. It was a serious thing to think about. 

"My boy, you surprise me. I haven't seen a thing that 
pointed to this, and — what does Ina say? She is so young — my 
only baby," stammered Mr. Nixon. 

"Oh, sir! surely you don't think I'd take advantage of her 
youth and innocence — or your goodness to me, and address her 
without your permission? I have never by word or look let her 
know the secret of my heart. I never shall without your con- 
sent." 

• 

"God bless you, Jack, there are precious few such young 
men who have such a high sense of honor. You have never at 
anytime failed to come up to the highest standard. I'd rather 
give my darling up to you than to any one else' on earth, if you 
can win her. But you are both young. There is plenty of time. 
Let her finish school." 

"I can wait and work patiently, if I have your approval," 
smiled Jack, happily, drawing his shoulders up and holding his 
head erect, feeling that now he could conquer the world. 

"You may not win her mother's consent quite so easily," 
warned Mr. Nixon. "She has always said that no one should 
take our baby from us. But we can accomplish a lot while Ina 
is in school. Now, will vou accept the spinning room, Jack?" 
help." 

"If vou are willing to risk me, I'll do my best with Steve's 
help." 

Mr. Nixon's face expressed the relief and pleasure he felt, 
as he stepped to the open window and called to Jones, Baxter 
and Steve, who were standing at the other end of the long porch. 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 123 

They all returned and every eye was focused on Jack's happy 
face. 

"I don't know what's happened," laughed Baxter, "but I'll 
swigger if there ain't a smashin' change in the atmosphere!" 

Jones knew at once that Mr. Nixon had gained his point, 
and that Jack would take on the responsibilities of the spinning 
room, and he was greatly relieved. He felt that no one could 
come in and fill the place so well as Jack, whom every one loved 
and respected, and he was confident that Jack would fill the place 
with complete satisfaction to the company. 

Steve's face grew radiant, and his eyes sparkled when he 
saw the joy and light pictured on the face of his beloved friend, 
and he walked to his side and laid his hand lovingly on Jack's 
shoulder, expressing in the warmth of his touch, the congratu- 
lations of his heart. Jack understood, reached up and clasped his 
hand. 

Mr. Nixon pointed to them with a gesture of love and pride, 
turned to Jones, and Baxter, made a bow and said : 

"I want you to meet my new spinning room man, Mr. Le- 
Grande and his second hand, Mr. Laney." Just as the words 
left his lips, Mrs. LeGrande, Mrs. Nixon, Ina and Nellie paused 
at the door. 

"Oh!" exclaimed Nellie, joyfully; then blushed as she 
remembered that her father had told Steve he must wait for 
her until he had reached just such a position. Steve looked at 
her triumphantly, while Baxter taking it all in, exclaimed : 

"Darned, if I don't believe somebody's been workin' a rabbit 
foot on me! I've been tricked an' trapped slick as a button. 
Nixon, I wouldn't a thought it of you!" and Baxter was a comical 
looking sight trying to hide the pleasure that he felt over 
Steve's promotion. 

"Congratulations are in order," laughed Mr. Jones. 

"They certainly are," agreed Nixon. Mrs. Nixon hurried 
forward, followed by Mrs. LeGrande, both congratulating the 
"boys" on their success. 

"But," said Mrs. LeGrande, and her voice choked with tears : 
"Oh, how can I go back home and leave my boy here?" Jack 
pulled her head down on his shoulder, stroked her hair lovingly, 
and whispered something in her ear that made her smile through 
her tears as he released her. 




UNCLE MOSE" 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 125 

Steve had gone to the door where Nellie stood blushing 
happily, and Ina heard him say softly : 

"Sweetheart, you are mine now," and as Nellie looked into 
his dark eyes with such a world of love and trust, she took a red 
rose from her breast and' pinned it on Steve's coat. 

Ina was wearing roses, too, and her hand involuntarily rose 
to them as she glanced toward Jack, who regarded her wistfully. 
Mrs. Nixon divined Ina's thought, gave her a smile and nodded 
her head encouragingly. Ina blushed furiously, but stepped for- 
ward bravely and exclaimed : 

"Steve shall not have all the roses, Jack!" and while her 
trembling fingers fastened the rose to the bosom of his cool, 
blouse shirt, she felt the tumultuous throbbings of his heart, blue 
eyes looked into brown, soul spoke to soul in a silence more elo- 
quent and thrilling than words, and with mutual understanding. 

"God," whispered Jack reverently, while the passionate 
blood of his ancestors rushed riotiously through his veins almost 
compelling him to clasp her to his heart and defy the world to 
separate them. But much as he loved Ina, he loved honor more, 
and his lips were sealed, though now there was an abiding joy 
in his heart that would brighten the coming days of separation 
with the rainbow of hope. 

"Steve shan't have all the roses," she had said, and there 
was a sweet, shy, hidden meaning to the innocent assertion, that 
only Jack comprehended: 

"Now, fo' de Lawd, what am de mattah in here?" exclaimed 
Mose, entering the room with Joe at his heels, and looking around 
anxiously. "Marse Jack, you ain't gone an had a spell, now, is 
yo?" Everybody laughed. 

"Yes, we've all had spells, an' tricks has been played on the 
rest of us," explained Baxter. 

"Now, doan dat beat de diner!" and Mose grinned expect- 
antly, as he fumbled with his hat, looking from one happy face 
to another, and waiting to be enlightened. 

"Jack will be spinning room overseer soon as he's able," 
smiled Mr, Nixon, "and Steve will be his assistant. They are 
both good boys, and to see them climb the ladder of success has 
been one of the greatest pleasures of my life." 

"De land sakes ! Marse Jack, you ain't gwine home to de 
plantation?' 'and there was a ring of disappointment in the old 
man's tone. 



126 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

"Not yet, Mose; I love mill work and shall stick to it." And 
/ack stooped to pet old Joe, who stopped and looked lovingly 
in his face, wagging his tail and saying plain as words, that he 
rejoiced to see his young master so much improved. 

Presently, Mr. Jones, Baxter, Nellie and Steve took their 
departure, followed to the porch by Mr. and Mrs. Nixon and Ina, 
leaving Jack, Mrs. LeGrande and Mose alone. Mose began to 
fumble in his pockets, and presently he pulled out a little package 
carefully wrapped in a red handkerchief while he grinned 
sheepishly : 

"LiF Marse, I got sumpin fo' yo." And when the handker- 
chief was removed, Jack saw a splendid likeness of old Mose. 
"I'se eighty fo' year ole, HI' Marse, an da's de onliest pickter I 
ever had tuck. Tuther day de pickter man cum along, he did, an 
Mis' Baxter she say: 'Now, Mose, you des gotter set fur one. 
You ain't gwine ter live allers an yo' fren's will be mighty proud 
to have a pickter of you.' I 'lowed maybe dat's so, an I des put on 
my Sunday duds an had me bewty struck — ha ! ha !" 

"I'm so glad you did, Uncle Mose, but I'm so greedy and 
jealous, I've a good mind to keep them all for myself," declared 
Jack. "Doesn't he make a fine looking picture, mother?" and 
Mrs. LeGrande examined the photographs with interest. 

"Indeed, he does," she heartily agreed. "I hope there's one 
for me, Mose?' 'and the old darkey proudly told her she could 
have her choice. 

"I hope, though, that I'll get another one when you are 
a hundred years old, Mose, if I'm living then," said Jack, as he 
too, selected a picture for himself. 

"I'm the happiest boy in Georgia, Mose," declared Jack. 

"Is yo' now, Marse Jack? Dat's des prezactly what Marse 
Steve said tuther day when I kotch him a kissin — sumbody. Is 
you bin kissin' sumbody, too, honey?" 

"No," smiled Jack, "not exactly, but I will some sweet day." 

A few days later — on Saturday evening before Jack was to 
assume his duties the following Monday morning, Mr. Nixon 
gave a banquet to the officers and overseers of the mill and 
their wives in honor to Jack and to Mrs. LeGrand e who was 
to return home on the following Tuesday. There were speeches., 
toasts and music interspersed between couress and the fragrance 
of the floral decorations, the flash of bright silverware and happy 
faces, gave old Mose a delightful thrill as he, in spotless white, 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 127 

helped to serve the guests. Of course, Steve, Nellie and Mr. 
Baxter were present and the occasion was one of unadulterated 
pleasure. 

When Jack approached the mill on Monday morning, he 
was met at the gate by nearly every inmiate of the spinning 
room. The boys gathered him and in spite of his protests, lifted 
him on their shoulders, cheered on by Mr. Nixon. The crowd 
parted, making an opening through which the boys could pass 
and as they bore Jack on toward the mill, the girls pelted him 
with flowers, while rousing cheers rent the air. 

A delegation had been ordered to "initiate" Steve, but he 
had "caught on," and instead of coming to th e mill the usual 
route, he had gone around and entered through the engine room, 
giving them the slip. There were stairways in front and back of 
the mill and the boys entered the weave room the front way, 
marched with Jack down the big "spare alley," up the back 
steps to the card room, crossed it to the front, then up to the big 
spinning room, where they deposited him in the overseer's chair 
in front of the desk. Here joy and excitement gave place to deep- 
est respect, and smiling and bowing, the boys quietly dispersed, 
going each to his own place of duty, leaving Jack flushed and 
happy. 

Steve entered and closed the door. "By gum, Jack, let's 
pinch each other, and see if we are asleep and dreaming. Who 
would have thought that this would ever happen to me. You 
deserve it — but I don't. I'll do my best for you though, and I 
want to tell you right now, don't fail to call me down if I make 
a mistake. I've got too much at stake to fail. Mr. Baxt e r says, 
now, that I shan't have Nellie till I prove that I can make good. 
He said at first that when I reached the place of second hand I 
could have her. If I thought I'd fail, I'd kidnap her before an- 
other twenty-four hours." 

"And I've got to make good, too, Steve. I've got something 
greater than ambition to spur me on to victory. Look here; I 
know you will keep my secret," and Jack took from his inside coat 
pocket, a fragrant, pressed rose, carefully wrapped, and pressed 
it to his lips. 

"All the roses are not yours, Steve." 

"I hope not — I'd be miserable if some did not bloom for you, 
Jack." 



128 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

Then with an effort, sentiment was laid aside for stern duty, 
as the whistles blew and work began. 

Jack did not return to his room in the barn, though he gave 
it up reluctantly. Mr. and Mrs. Nixon wanted to keep him with 
them, but this brought such vigorous protest from the Baxters 
who looked on Jack as a part of their own family, that they did 
not press the matter, and our young hero, soon found himself 
in the best room at Baxter Heights, while Mose was given the 
pretty room in the barn, and kept Joe for protection and company. 

September had come and the college students were saying 
"good-bye" to home again, and returning to their studies. Jack 
had been working hard, patiently and successfully, and had 
reduced waste and tangled yarn to an amazing extent. Mr. Jones 
had been considered one of the best spinners in the . State, but 
Jack was exceeding him both in production and in the quality of 
his yarn. The company made a study of the weekly reports, did 
some calculating and marveled. 

Steve had made an able assistant, and had at last won Bax- 
ter's consent to have a Christmas wedding. Mr. Baxter said 

they'd have to consent in self-defense for Steve just about stayed 
there. 

Jack stood at the mill window the day Ina left, and waved 
her a good-bye as she went to the depot. She looked up and 
smiled bravely through her tears. Jack had longed for a word 
with her till his heart ached uncontrolably, but he did not dare 
trust himself in her presence alone, and he had carefully guard- 
ed against it. Mrs. Nixon had not gone with Ina to the depot. 
She had never been brave enough to watch the train bear her 
darling away, and pleaded a slight headache. 

Mr. Nixon was with Ina, and saw the look of longing on the 
face of Jack, and the disappointment of Ina. His heart ached 
for Jack, but he had never dreamed that Ina's heart was aching 
too. 

"Pet," he said, slipping his arm around her, "the time will 
soon pass, and then — " 

"Daddy, oh, Daddy, why didn't Jack come and say good-bye 
to me?" she exclaimed. 

"Darling, perhaps he couldn't bear it. Be good, now, sweet- 
est. Study hard and try to be worthy of some noble man's love. 
Do you — do you want to send Jack a message? Daddy will de- 
liver it if you do," stroking her hand. 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 129 

"You are the best old daddy in the whole wide world," she 
whispered, kissing him. "Would — would it be improper for me 
to send Jack a picture of mine?" 

"Ha! ha! I just promised the young rascal to give him on e 
myself. Here is something he sent you." And Mr. Nixon gave 
Ina large envelope and led her to a quiet corner of the waiting 
room. "Don't you ever let your mother know about this," he cau- 
tioned her. 

Ina opened the envelope and found a fine photograph of 
Jack, and on the back was written : "Keep my memory green." 
With many blushes Ina took from her bosom an envelope of simi- 
lar size containing a photo of herself and gave it to her father. 
All her tears were gone now and her dark eyes sparkled like 
jewels. 

"Daddy, if you'll give him this, from me — " 

"I will, pet," smiling as he read on the back of the picture, 
"Forget me not." 

Here, Nellie and several other girls rushed in to bid Ina 
good-bye, and father and daughter could exchange no more sweet 
confidences. The train soon rolled in and out again, and as far 
as he could see her, Ina threw kisses to her father, who stood and 
waved his hat in return, trying to swallow the lump in his throat, 
while he wondered how he could ever endure his big, lovely home, 
without his "Sunbeam." 

Then he turned his steps toward the mill and straight to 
Jack's desk, where he found the young overseer gazing absent- 
mindedly out through the open window, looking very miserable. 

"Cheer up, my boy!" he cried, slapping him on the shoulder, 
and extending the envelope. "I don't have to steal for you — the 
lady sends you your heart's desire." 

Then he hurried out, leaving Jack alone with his happiness 
and for fear that some one would intrude on him, Jack locked 
his office door. 

A few days later Mr. Nixon had a talk with Jack. The com- 
pany had decided to build another mill, and Jack was advised to 
study carding, during every spare moment. 

"I've been doing that for a year," was his astonishing 
answer. "I've tried to not neglect my duties, and I'm sure I 
haven't ; but I'm very interested in carding. Mr. Brown has 
been exceedingly kind to me, and takes great pains to explain 
anything I ask him." 



130 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

"Say ; Jack, go your gait. There's something in the future 
for you. The company is watching you. You have made aston- 
ishing changes for the better here. Saw wood and say nothing." 

CHAPTER XVII. 

Mrs. Florence wanted Mose to return home with her, but he 
refused, saying: 

"Than'ee mam, I des can't leave Marse Jack. I done promist 
de good Lawd I ain't nebber gwinter let man chile git outten mah 
sight no mo. Den clars a nudder 'sideration what musn' be for- 
got — sumbody gotta look atter Joe. Dat dawg's gittin ole, an 
Marse Jack he 'low if Joe do git on de lif I gotta nuss him same 
as he wuz Marse Jack heself. Den' I lak mah whitefolks at de 
hotel. You des gin Sallie one o' mah pickters, an' tell her if Marse 
Jack eber come home den I be right dar if I'se a libin. If I die, 
Marse Jack will take me back an' bury me side o' Dilsie." And 
Mis' Florence had to leave without him. 

She and Jack had talked long and earnestly over business 
matters, and Jack had said : 

"Mother, you must think of me now as your, own son. I 
know you have business ability and I want you to run the farm 
just as you have been doing. Get a good man and woman whom 
you can trust to live in the house with you for company and pro- 
tection and let the man act as your foreman. Pay him what you 
think is right — get a good man and pay him liberally. Do just 
as you please with everything and be happy as you can. I'll 
come to see you next summer if I can possibly get off. The home 
is ours — don't think of it as mine, Mother, and I want you to feel 
perfectly free to run things as you choose," and Jack kissed her 
tears of shame and regret away, and smiled happily as she 
agreed to do as he had advised. 

Steve and Nellie were married Christmas eve, in front of 
the beautiful well loaded Christmas tree in the church where both 
were faithful Sunday school workers. The popular couple re- 
ceived so many valuable and useful presents that housekeeping 
was made easy. Both were passionately fond of music and Jack's 
present was a lovely piano. He was not altogether unselfish in 
his choice of a present, for he anticipated great pleasure in bring- 
ing his violin and joining them during long winter evenings. 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 131 

Ina was home for the wedding and Christmas and Jack had 
lost not a little sleep in trying to decide on a Christmas present 
for her. He would have liked giving her something expensive 
but under the circumstances he knew it was not good form. They 
were not engaged — were not even "keeping company" and he 
must be very tactful. 

He at last decided on a box of pink and white carnations, and 
when they came from the florist arranged with maiden-hair fern 
in heart design, and tied with an exquisite bow of white silk 
chiffon, Jack knew he had selected the right present. 

Ina was only home for a few days. Jack only saw her in 
company with others. But just to see her and to breathe the 
same atmosphere — to turn music made sacred by her touch, to 
stand by and sing with her, and catch the faint perfume of her 
hair was heaven for Jack. Not for worlds would he have seen 
her for one moment, alone. None but himself could guess the 
fight that raged in his soul. His honor was at stake. He would 
not disappoint her father. He would wait patiently, let the price 
be what it might ; she was worth it, if he could win her. 

Before the three years were out, Jack felt that there were 
grave doubts about his winning her. He had so studiously avoid- 
ed being in her presence, except in company with others that 
Ina noticed it, and was piqued. She had looked forward to her 
vacations with a heart thrilling with tenderest love and fond 
anticipation, and was disappointed because of Jack's reticence. 
She did not know of his compact with her father and began to 
think that she must have been mistaken — he did not care after 
all. 

Well, she would show him that she didn't care either, and 
when she was home for Christmas, before she graduated in June, 
she flirted with young men of the city until Jack's heart bled with 
agony. Her beauty and vivacity made her irresistibly charming, 
and, maddened over Jack's indifference, she hid an aching heart 
beneath a smiling face, sang, rode and danced, until her father 
looked grave and her mother troubled. Both felt relieved, yet 
neither acknowledged it, when Ina was safe in college again. 

In the meantime, things had happened. The new mill had 
been built and was to start up the following September. Jack's 
time had been so filled up, that he had had little time for melan- 
choly. There was a bouncing baby at Steve's house that was call- 
ed "Jack," and he was beginning to "take notice" of the tall 



]32 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

handsome man with the troubled blue eyes, who came so often to 
see him. The Y. M. C. A. hall had been enlarged. Debating soci- 
ties had been organized and in these Jack took great delight. He 
welcomed anything that would make him forg e t the ache in his 
heart, and nothing comforted him more than his Bible and church 
work. 

Jack and Mrs. Florence exchanged letters once a week, each 
finding great pleasure and happiness in the .correspondence. He 
and Mose had visited her twice. 

On the first of June the stockholders and officers of the mill 
met in .conference in the big office. There was much business to 
attend to. Officers were to be elected for the new mill, which 
would start up three months later. Jack was elected superintend- 
ent without a dissenting voice, and a message was sent to him 
in the mill to come to the office. 

Wondering what they could want with him Jack straightened 
ed the summons. He was greeted warmly by the great men 
assembled, and then the president said: 

"Mr. LeGrande, you are unanimously elected superintend- 
ent of the new mill, and we sincerely trust you will accept the 
position. 

Mr. Nixon looked at Jack anxiously. He had seen and under- 
stood all that Jack had endured and suffered at the hands of Ina. 
He had wanted to offer his sympathy, but each had avoided the 
subect, as one too delicate for discussion. Mr. Nixon wondered 
if Jack was brave enough to accept a position that would keep 
him near Ina, when there was no hope that he could win her, and 
waited in suspense for the answer. Jack had turned pale — then 
flushed to the roots of his hair as he realized what had happened. 
His blue eyes were wide with surprise and his voice trembled as 
he replied : 

"I can't express how I appreciate the honor you have done 
me. I had hoped to be spinner in the big mill, but I never dream- 
ed of being superintendent. I — I — thought Mr. Nix-on would — " 
The president smiled: 

"Mr. Nixon will be general manager. As far as possible, 
we are advancing our own faithful ones, and will get new men 
to fill vacancies, where we have no available material to 'work 
up.' Your friend Steve will take your place as spinner — or if you 
think him capable, we'll give him the place of spinner in the new 
mill." 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 133 

"Steve is certainly capable, and I'd like very mucn to have 
him with me. We understand each other so thoroughly and — " 

"So you accept, then Jack?" exclaimed Mr. Nixon, very much 
relieved. 

"I am very young — only twenty-three," said Jack, "but I 
am willing to try." Then all in a flash he thought of the lovely 
white superintendent's house that crested a lovely knoll, near 
the new mill. Ah, if Ina would only occupy it with him! He 
could see the pretty house from the office window, and as his 
eyes were turned involuntarily toward it he heaved a sigh. 

"You may send Mr. Laney down to us now," said the presi- 
dent, shaking Jack's hand warmly. '"We are proud of you, my 
boy. It was a happy day for the company when your run-away 
feet led you to this office. You have no idea what you and your 
Christian influence have meant for this community." 

"If I am anything, or ever accomplish any good in this 
world the honor is Mr. Nixon's," replied Jack warmly. Jack 
withdrew and sought his friend. 

It was only a few minutes later that he saw Steve returning 
from the office, holding his shoulders proudly erect and his great 
dark eyes dancing with joy. Steve rushed into Jack's office : 

"Jack, oh. Jack! Do you remember our compact in the 
the barn the night of your party? I said then I'd follow where 
you would lead, but now you've just taken me by the hand and 
yanked me on a high shelf all at once, and I'm dizzy over it ! Oh, 
Jack, Jack! and I might never have waked up or been anything, 
but for you !" and Steve turned aside to hide his emotion. 

"Say, Steve, don't you want to run out and carry this mail 
to Nellie?" and Jack held out a couple of letters that had just 
been brought over from the postoffice. 

"God bless you, Jack — you know I'm crazy to tell her!" and 
Steve bolted. Presently the office door was jerked open and one 
of the Baxter children rushed in crying: 

Oh, Mr. Jack, Joe's sick and Uncle Mose said get a doctor 
and come quick!" 

Jack jerked up his 'phone and got busy. He called the doc- 
tor and then asked Steve to hurry back. With an ache in his 
heart that nothing could heal, Jack then went out to be with his 
dog, and found Mose with Joe in his arms and talking to him as 
if he had been a child : 



134 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

"Dar now, Joe, doa'n yo' mind de valley an' de shadder — 
tain't nuffin to be skeered of — dey's light on de udder side ! Dey 
ain't nobody got mo right to heben den you is, Joe — you'se fit a 
good fight an' dar's boun to be a. place fo' you ober dar. Yes, 
honey, an' Dilsie an' Marse Henry an' Mis' Evelyn an' Arfur 
gwine to be glad to see yo'. Mose'll come des es soon es de Lawd 
invites him." 

"Jack's eyes filled with tears. He sat down on Mose's bed and 
held out his arms, and Mose, laid Joe tenderly in them. 

"Can nothing be done?" asked Jack of the doctor, who had 
come in and was looking grave. 

"No, poor Joe has come to the end of the row. We can only 
ease his suffering and let him go peacefully to sleep." 

"Do it then " begged Jack as Joe began to whine piteously, 
and plead for relief. The doctor gave a hypodermic, and with 
one last loving look into Jack's agonized face, as he bent over him, 
one feeble effort to caress his tear-wet cheek, Joe's soft brown 
eyes were closed forever and he passed into the great unknown, 
without a struggle. 

The next day was Saturday and after the mill stopped a 
large crowd attended the burial of Joe, which was in the garden 
at Baxter Heights. Joe was wrapped in a white satin shroud and 
laid in a white casket. This was enclosed in an air-tight metal 
case, for Jack had a faint idea that perhaps he'd want to take 
Joe home some day and lay his ashes in the old family burying 
ground. 

There were many eyes wet with tears as the crowd turned 
away from the flower covered mound, where Jack lingered with 
bare, bowed head, attended by the faithful Mose. 

"June has always been my lucky and unlucky month," sigh- 
ed Jack, thinking of the many things that had happened to him 
during the past. 

A few days later Mr. and Mrs. Nixon left to attend Ina's 
graduation, and poor Jack looked forward to their return with 
mingled dread and longing. It was heaven to be near Ina, even 
if she would not care for him — provided she would not care for 
some other. 

They returned the 10th and a reception was given in honor 
to the beautiful graduate, a few days later. Jack had called with 
flowers and congratulations on the first evening of her arrival 
and so had others. Ina, bewitchingly beautiful in soft clinging 



ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 135 

white, with crimson roses in. her hair and at her waist, her dark 
eyes sparkling- with the joy of being home again, entertained 
charmingly. She sang and played, holding her listeners spell- 
bound with her wonderful expression. 

Her father and mother looked on with pardonable pride, but 

both were disturbed over the hopeless look on Jack's face as he 

, leaned against the mantle and watched another turn Ina's music. 

bending over her with such a manner of devotion, and flushing 

with happiess as she occasionally gave him an upward glance and 
smile. 

Mrs. Nixon had known Jack's secret for some time, and in 
her heart she had -acknowledged that she would not object to 
Jack as a son-in-law. But she saw no hope of that., Ina had 
greeted Jack as a dear friend, and complimented him on his pro- 
motion, just as any one would have done, and without a tremor. 

On the night of the reception Jack managed to be the last 
guest to take his leave. With his hat in his hand, he was passing 
out, when suddenly he looked at Ina, caught her eyes, held them 
to his own for a second and saw the rich blood surge over her face 
in a tell-tale flood. He resolved then and there to put his fate to 
the test — he would know once for all if there was hope for him. 

"Will you come out on the porch, please? If you are not too 
tired, I'd like just a few moments with you," said Jack, and he 
felt her hand tremble as he drew it through his arm and led her 
out in the cool night air in the fragrance of June roses. 

"Little girl, I've just got to know if there is any hope for me 
to ever win you for my own. Don't answer yet — wait!" as Ina 
caught her breath. Jack was afraid to hear his fate. 

"Ina, I've suffered — God only knows how much — in keeping 
silent through these years, but I didn't want to interfere with 
your school duties — and — and — I waited. Oh, darling, how I 
love you ! Look over yonder," and Jack pointed to the new super- 
intendent's house that shone clearly in the moonlight. "If you'd 
only make that home for me ! But there — I am selfish — you are 
just home — you will want to travel and meet people — you may 
find some one who is more worthy — but never any one who loves 
you more. Can you ever learn to care for me?" 

"I — I am afraid not, Jack," Ina whispered. Jack said not a 
word. He was too stunned to speak. All the light had gone out 
of his world. He raised his hand to his brow. 



136 ONLY A FACTORY BOY. 

"Oh, God help me," he murmured, and reeled toward the 
steps. Ina sprang after him and caught his arm. 

"Jack, oh Jack! How can I learn to do a thing that I've 
been doing — oh — don't you know? — and I thought you didn't 
care !" 

"Ina, darling, look up ! Let me see your dear eyes," pleaded 
Jack, clasping her to his breast half in doubt, as the dark head 
bent lower and lower. 

. "Look up, sweet," and Jack raised her face, gazed long and 
searchingly into the misty, starry eyes, then as he pressed his 
lips to hers, his heart throbbing with joy and thankfulness, there 
came a trembling, "God bless you, my children," and Mr. and 
Mrs. Nixon stood before them just a moment, then vanished. 

They were married the 1st of September. Had a grand 
church wedding, big reception, and then a trip to Washington 
and New York, accompanied by Mrs. Florence, who had visited 
these cities often, and knew everything worth seeing. During 
the trip she met with an old admirer, a resident of Washing- 
ton, and they were happily married the following Christmas. 

Later, Jack sold the plantation except the family burying 
ground and made arrangements to have it well cared for. Mose 
moved over to the new house with Jack and Ina and when a year 
later he was called into Ina's room and Jack proudly laid into his 
arms a wee bundle of love and trouble that had the blue eyes 
and golden curls of its father, Mose said : 

"Praise Gawd! Hit's des lak Mis' Evelyn." 

"Her name is Florence Evelyn and we shall call her Evelyn," 
smiled Ina, her dark eyes luminous with mother love. And Jack 
bent and kissed her lovingly, thankfully and reverently. 



(THE END.) 



From Ball Room to Weave Room 



CHAPTER I. 

"We have careful thoughts for the stranger, 
And smiles for the sometimes guest, 

But oft for 'our own' 

The bitter tone, 
Though we love 'our own' the best. 

"Ah! lips with the curve impatient, 
Ah ! brow with the look of scorn, 
'Twere a cruel fate 
Were the night too late 
To undo the work of the morn." 

It was in New York, the 20th of May and two o'clock in the 
morning. The guests were gone, and the assumed masks of 
gayety had dropped as if by magic from the faces of husband 
and wife. 

It was only one of many such scenes daily and hourly 
enacted in the gay circles of fashionable life, and jealously 
guarded from the curious eye of the people's god — society. It 
was only one of many instances in which the "green eyed 
monster," — jealousy, had glided into a once happy home, then 
"stretching out his slimy claws in all their hideousness and 
lashing his long tail in fury," had frightened away the good 
angels of love and trust. 

The man stood leaning wearily against the costly rosewood 
piano, a stern, set expression on his handsome face, his gray 
eyes fiercely steady as they rested on the face and perfect figure 
of his girl-wife, who returned his gaze unflinchingly and with 
proud defiance. 

How entrancingly beautiful, how bewitchingly winsome and 
tantalizing she was in her rich cream silk ball dress, its low neck 
and short sleeves showing snowy throat and faultless arms 
which seemed the texture of lily petals, her dark curling hair 
arranged high on the small queenly poised head, with a few 
stray rebellious curls coquettishly caressing the white neck and 



138 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

temples, lips red and luscious as a June strawberry, now curved 
scornfully, and the rich color coming and going as she waited 
for the man to speak. 

A shaft of keenest pain rushed through the man's heart, 
and for one brief instant he closed his eyes to shut out the lovely 
vision, that he might gain courage to pursue the method he 
had decided to adopt. It was no wonder, he thought, that men 
should rave over her beauty. How could they help it? And, 
how could she, only a girl, help feeling proud of her conquests? 
Older and more experienced women were just as silly; but then, 
she was his wife and must stop such desperate flirting. 

"My dear Theo, why will you persist in driving me to des- 
peration? The way you take on with some of these confounded 
unprincipled society devils has worn my patience threadbare," 
he said, passionately. 

"My dear Jack! I am so sorry; can I patch it for you?" 
innocently. 

"No you can't," savagely; "I've allowed you to 'patch things 
up' for the very last time — do you hear?" 

Well, 'darn' it then," and the way she said it, sounded as 
if the sweet lips were using .profane language. 

"You have got to stop flirting, Theo! Now I mean it." 

"As I am no longer a child to be ordered around, would 
like to know how you propose to enforce obedience to your 
command," her eyes narrowing to an angry line as she sank into 
a crimson velvet chair. 

"I have had murder in my heart tonight, Theo, and without 
a change along certain lines I shall soon be guilty in reality, 
I can't and won't stand it any longer! I hope you understand." 

The angry light left the glorious dark eyes and the smiles 
and dimples returned as she retorted roguishly : 

"Oh Jack! are you really jealous? Some great writer has 
said that 'whoever has qualities to alarm our jealousy, has 
excellence to deserve our fondness!" Now if that is true you 
still love me — don't you?" 

"Theo," impatiently, "this is no time for sentimentality. I 
am sorry to be harsh and stern, but gentle measures and kind 
words seem to have no weight with you. Can't you understand 
that your name will soon be a by word in every club? — that the 
very men who pay you such worshipful homage, will speak 
lightly of you if they have not already begun it? And after 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 139 

all, can a man be blamed or censured for making light remarks 
about a woman who will dress in such a manner as to inflame 
his passions — who will allow the arms of any good waltzer to 
embrace her? Is she not to blame, entirely to blame, if with 
her own imprudence, she casts aside that God-given instinct 
which should be the guide of every pure woman, and tempts 
a man beyond endurance? By heaven! you shall not drag my 
name into the mud and mire of disgrace. I refuse to be an 
object of pity among my fellow men and an outcast from decent 
society," stormily. 

"Decent society." she mimicked. "How often have I heard 
you saj' that society was rotten to the core? And it's public 
opinion you care for, not me ; the opinion of 'decent society,' " 
bitterly. 

"I should have said select society ; there are some few good 
people mixed up in this develish riish after excitement, whose 
good opinion I greatly value. But tell me — will you agree to 
stop — " but something in the beautiful face arrested his words 
and he looked at her deeply perplexed, doubtful and anxious. 
Theo, deathly white and with clenched hands leaned forward 
on the arm of her chair and for a few moments gazed into the 
stern face of her husband. 

"Jack, if you loved me really and truly as I once thought 
you did I would seriously consider what you say. If you do love 
me still, tell me so now, dear, and I will forgive and forget the 
cruel things you have said. Otherwise, you haye no right to 
dictate to me," tremulously. 

"Love! Don't talk to me of love," he flared, "when you 
absolutely crave the admiration and flattery of every masculine 
member of the human race." 

"That would include Hottentots, Africans and so on. Truly, 
you are most amazingly complimentary, Mr. Jack Arling- 
ton," and she leaned back in her chair with that dangerous light 
again in her dark eyes, continuing : 

"You said things just now that I shall never forget, I think. 
You intimated that I was not decently dressed, and that I had 
no modesty or delicacy of feeling. Am I dressed differently from 
others whom I know you sincerely admire? — and have I con- 
ducted myself differently?" 

"But I want you to be different," he said desperately. "I. 
have always thought of you as so entirely different. — But to- 



140 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAV EROOM 

night my idol has fallen — to the common level. You have 
entirely overcome your repugnance to being embraced in public 
by strange men. You waltzed in the vile embrace of the Apollo 
of the t evening. Your head rested on his shoulder, your bare 
arm was almost around his neck, your face upturned to his, 
and your white forehead dangerously near his vile lips. He, if 
not you, was filled with the rapture of sin in its intensity. His 
spirit, if not yours, was inflamed with passions, and lust was 
gratified in thought. Good God! It was hell to me!" 

"Jack, you wrong me — you are cruel! I don't care for 
flattery ; but I have liked to be admired sincerely for your sake. 
Since I was a tiny girl, it has been the dream of my life to 
win the love of some good and noble man, who in return should 
have my whole heart. When you married me, a lonely orphan 
girl, I worshipped you, Jack. In less than a year you wearied 
of my passionate and ardent demonstrations of love, and chilled 
me into a 'more dignified demeanor,' as you called it, which at 
last grew to indifference. Oh, Jack! I am not the only one to 
blame for the gulf that yawns between us. It was wrong of 
you to pretend an affection you never felt — wrong of you to 
marry me when your heart had long been in the possession of 
another. Had I known about Cora Sullivan, I would never have 
said 'yes' to you, even if she was already married," passionately. 
"You had plenty of money, and surely you didn't marry me for 
mine; I guess you did it for spite," brokenly. 

The man's face grew suddenly drawn and white, and he 
leaned more heavily against the piano trembling with agitation. 

"Theo, I have told you so often that I never loved her — that 
I never would have married a society woman. How proud I was 
of your purity and innocence which had never been soiled by 
contact with the dirty world; I did so hope we should be happy." 

"How could you hope for anything, Jack, when you did not 
love me? If you would only care for me, really and truly, and 
let me share in all your business worries and vexations, I would 
be far happier and a better wife. But honestly, I think it is 
too late now. My heart seems turned to stone, and lies a dead 
weight in my bosom. I don't think we are married in the sight 
of heaven! I almost laugh over that preacher's solemn 'whom 
therefore God hath joined together;' God — if there be a God — 
certainly had nothing to do with our case, though it may be 
that Satan approved and sanctioned it," and she laughed reck- 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 141 

lessly. 

"Theo! that sounds just like some of the devilish rot that 
DuBoise talks in the club room," in almost uncontrolable rage, 
eyeing her with jealous suspicion and nervously fingering his 
watch chain. 

"I suppose he is the man you are so jealous of — and I don't 
care who it 'sounds like !' I never heard him or any one make 
such an expression; it was just born out of the anguish of heart 
and mind which your too frequent fits of unreasonable jealousy 
have subjected me to," and the tears welled up into her eyes, her 
lips became tremulous and a wave of rich color surged over her 
cheeks and brow. She leaned toward her husband and looked 
pleadingly into his stern set face. There was a wistful tender- 
ness in her tones as she softly and shyly spoke : 

"Jack, if we — if we had — a — had a little — a — darling little 
baby, would you love me then?" But the man had previously 
resolved that she should not 'twist him around her finger' this 
time, and make him acknowledge that he had wronged her. He 
would not be softened by any of her many artifices, nor admit 
that he was to blame, and retorted: 

"God! without a mighty reformation in your character — I 
beg pardon — deportment, you should never have charge of a 
child of mine. But that is nonsense — such a thing never hap- 
pens to a woman who dances her life away as you have been 
doing the three years since we married," contemptuously. "But 
it is now half past two; I must be at the office by nine and will 
bid you good night," not offering to kiss her. As he crossed the 
room she sprang from her seat and confronted him, her sensi- 
tive lips trembling piteously, her eyes flashing through rebel- 
lious tears. 

"Stop ! Jack, we will have it out now, once and forever, 
the last time! I will bear your insinuations and insults no 
longer. You have at last driven me to despair. I have always 
been true to you in word, thought and deed. If I ever prove 
false it will be because you drove me to it — remember that! I 
am going to leave you; some day you will bitterly regret this 
hour." 

"Theo!" and he grasped her hands in a vise-like grip and 
gazed in awe on her white drawn features. Ah, this was just a 
passionate childish outburst of temper, he thought, but more 
serious than usual. 



142 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

"Theo, you dare not bring such disgrace on your head and 
mine. I know we are as far apart as the poles — you crave ex- 
citement and society — I detest both and everything pertaining 
to either. I am sorry — but it can't be helped now ; we will have 
to endure it to the bitter end," and his voice broke in great dry 
sobs, as if his heart were bursting. 

"But I won't endure it!'" she stormed, angrily stamping her 
daintily slippered foot. "I won't be scolded and reproved all the 
time as if I were a naughty child; I am a woman, and I won't 
submit to such treatment at your hands a day longer — no I 
won't— I'll— " 

"Don't say anything rash, Theo," groaned the man in 
anguish, "we will talk it over when we are both in a more 
reasonable frame of mind. 1 think that neither of us should 
hold the other responsible for anything we may have sai'd. If > 
you are really so anxious to get away from me, you might go 
with the Sheldons to Europe the last of the month — about ten 
days from now. They will be gone for a year. If you wish to go 
I will arrange it." And again came that shaft of pain through 
the man's heart, as the thought of an empty, cheerless home 
rose clearly defined before his mental vision. 

"Yes, I'll go — to Europe, Africa, Asia or anywhere, just 
so I get away from this hateful place of sham and hypocrisy, 
where all the originality is crushed out of one ! j Oh yes, I'll go ; 
and I hope I'll never see New York again," bitterly. So he 
wanted to get rid of her did he? And he would send her off 
with that hateful old gossip, Mrs. Sheldon, would he? Well she 
would go, but not to Europe or anywhere that he could know, 
to be spied upon. She would not be disposed of just as he 
pleased, and in a way that he could know of and criticise every 
action, — no indeed. 

Jack Arlington watched the changing countenance of his 
wife with inward misgivings, as she drew her hands away from 
him. Truly she was a puzzle of late, and an unfathomable 
mystery. Had he been too harsh? he wondered. No, he decided, 
that was his last resort. He had begged and pleaded long enough 
— now he would command. But somehow he felt a sense of 
defeat, though he could not define it. 

"Well, good-night, little one — and let's not quarrel any 
more," and he stooped to kiss her, but she turned away. 

"No, Jack, you need not practice any more deceit with me! 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 143 

I have not forgotten that you would have left me a few moments 
ago without a kiss. We won't 'patch up things' any more," 
with firm finality. He laughed a little uneasily as she paid him 
back in his own coin ; then sighed heavily : 

"Oh, we are even now — be satisfied, won't you?" pleadingly. 
"I don't suppose you will be visible so early as I shall have to 
leave, so I will say goodnight and good bye," and husband and 
wife separated and went to their bedrooms. 

It was not long before the man dismissed the whole dis- 
agreeable subject from his mind and went to a sound healthy 
sleep ; but the woman, after being waited on by her maid, dis- 
missed her, and passed the long hours striding up and down her 
room, wringing her hands and moaning in anguish, the picture 
of grim despair. Poor girl! Circumstances and environment 
were forming her into that most unfortunate of beings, an 
impassioned, susceptible, ill- judging woman. With warm im- 
pulsive heart and erring head, she had yet to learn of the pure, 
mild and enduring virtues of the Christian, of humility and 
endurance as a substitute for pride. . 

Jack was surprised next morning on his way out, to hear 
the piano, but a glance at his watch told him he had no time 
to tarry, though he paused a moment outside the parlor door 
to listen to the sad, half sobbing voice of his wife as she sang 
with touching pathos : 

"I'm longing, so sadly I'm longing 

For the flowers that have blossomed and fled, 
For the hopes that around me were thronging, 

But alas ! all are withered and dead. 
Beauties I thought ne'er would perish 

One by one vanish away — 
There's nothing on earth that we cherish 

That's lovely and true that will stay." 



.44 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

CHAPTER II. 

"'Have you studied that man and that woman? 
Have you learned every phase of their life? 
Have you felt each temptation that met them ? 
Have you joined in their struggle and strife? 
Have you probed every hope of each bosom? 
Have you measured the throb of each heart? 
Have you fathomed their prayers and their passions, 
And the evil from good set apart? 

"Oh, refrain from this sitting in judgment, 
In causes where all is not known, 
And remember Christ said: 'But the stainless 
Shall cast at his brother a stone'. 
Reflect ere the harsh word is spoken 
Desist ere the action you do, 
And ask your own heart in communion, 
If both are not suited to you." 

As good old Dr. Brown was passing the Arlington home 
that morning, he saw a drooping figure among the flowers on 
the lawn, and caught the glimpse of a white despairing face 
and great dark eyes, gazing after Jack as he hurried down 
street as if possessed by demons. 

"Something wrong with those children," he mused. "I've 
thought so for some little time, and now I know it. I didn't 
stay long at their ball, but I understood how it was. Theo is so 
full of life that she goes a little too far with some things, but 
she is pure gold, and I felt like kicking Jack for being such a 
fool, lawyer though he is." And giving a little more speed to 
his auto, he was soon up with Jack and called out : 

"Hello! my boy, how are you? Hop in here and save your 
car fare. I'm going right by your office. Don't look like you've 
slept much. Well! well! these balls and late hours are a bore 
to some and a boon to others. Where would the poor struggling 
doctor come in, if there were no fools to commit outrages against 
the laws of nature? Echo answers where? By gum! we never 
would get a patient to sacrifice on the alter of experiment. 
Everything that comes along brings good to somebody," chuckled 
the old chatter-box as Jack took a seat beside him. 

"It's certainly fortunate for me that you came along, any- 
way; I have a genuine case of blue devils this morning, and if 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 145 

your philosophy can't drive them away, I shall be left hopeless." 
The Doctor caught the note of misery in the man's tone but 
ignored it and answered cheerily : 

"After effects of the ball, my boy. I had a glimpse of your 
wife back there on the lawn, and she seemed similarly affected. 
I declare, Jack, she was almost as white as the lilacs under which 
she was standing while she watched your fine athletic figure 
out of sight. She looked just like a lovely woman always feels 
when her husband leaves her without a kiss," teasingly. 

"I — er — was in a hurry — it was getting late — and she didn't 
come to breakfast with me," stammered Jack in confusion. 

"Ha! ha! what a wonderfully shrewd lawyer you are to be 
so easily caught in my little trap," laughed the doctor. "So you 
didn't kiss her, sure enough. Zounds ! I feel like using the 
lash on somebody ; wish I were driving a horse." Then seriously : 
"Jack, your wife is getting to be a wonderfully deep woman. 
I've loved and studied her since she was a baby, but am begin- 
ning to find fathomless depths in her nature. She has been a 
long time passing from girlhood to womanhood — a serious stage 
for one of her temperament. Be very tender and patient with 
her, my boy. I have always been so glad that you won her from 
her avaricious guardian, who wanted her for himself. No 
wonder she loves you so." Jack caught his breath ! 

"Doctor, if she had seen more of society first, she would 
never have — " he began miserably, but the doctor cut him short : 

"Now, look here, my boy, I won't listen to any such tommy- 
rot! I understand, and as the way is opened, I am going to 
diagnose your case, and don't you dare to interrupt me. I love 
you and Theo as if you were my own children, and the Lord 
only knows how it hurts me to see either of you in trouble. I 
was at your ball long enough last night to see under the surface 
of things, though you both carried it off splendidly; but in my 
thirty years practice of medicine, I've studied human nature too, 
and am hard to fool. Oh, Jack, don't ever say, think or do 
anything that would wring your heart with unutterable regret 
if the Lord should take your wife — " 

"Doctor! is she — " and Jack's gray eyes sought the doctor's 
in anxiety too deep for words. 

Oh, no, don't jump to unthought of conclusions — there's 
nothing the matter with her so far as I know — never has been 
anything serious. But I was just thinking of my own precious 



146 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

wife up in heaven, and if such a fate as mine should ever happen 
to be your sad lot, I hope you won't have to lie awake at night 
as I have so often done, and grieve over the things I should 
have done and did not, and the things I did and should not." 

"I'm sure, doctor, that no man could ever be more devoted 
to his wife than you were," sighed Jack, ruefully. 

"Ah, yes, God knows, I thought that I was tender, affection- 
ate and thoughtful, but after she was gone, I thought of many 
things — little things, too, that would have cost me nothing,' that 
would have filled her sweet heart with joy more often. Tender 
words of affection, a stolen kiss, a loving hand clasp, and a big 
bear-hug pretty often — such things are the very life of some 
women — and we men, brutish creatures that we are, often let 
them starve to death for lack of proper nourishment." 

"Why, doctor, I guess you are getting things rather mixed, 
aren't you? Whoever heard of such a thing as reallv 'living on 
love?'" 

"I know what I'm talking about, and so do you. You in 
your practice of law, and I in my practice of medicine, have been 
behind the scenes and have seen heart secrets laid bare — things 
that were pitiful beyond expression, and aroused our deepest 
sympathy. 

The doctor now turned his auto into another street, saying : 
"As I am rather fond of your company, we'll go a round-about 
way. It will take several minutes yet, for me to thoroughly 
diagnose your case, so I will get to the task. Since you have 
been practicing law, especially since you have so successfully 
handled some extremely difficult cases, I notice that you do not 
practice religion much. I once thought you would be a preacher, 
but you have backslidden, and I think God is beginning to ply 
the lash to you. Well, it will be for your own good in the long 
run, though it may hurt awfully till you come to understand it. 
Jack, the practice of law is making you hard and cynical; but 
as I always say, there's nothing that God can't straighten out, 
and ev vything will come right in his own good time. If you 
are being scourged, it is because He loves you. 'Whom the Lord 
loveth he chasteneth.' I wish you could understand that God is 
Love — all Love — ; He never sends an unseasonable trouble or an 
unnecessary pain — nor an unsuitable mercy. Everything is well 
timed. There is frequently more love in a frown than there 
could be in a smile. 'As many as I love I rebuke and chasten.' 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 147 

Carbuncles and boils clear the system of poison and help to 
purify the blood. Fiery trials consume the dross and purify the 
gold in our natures. Afflictions are nearly always real blessings 
in disguise. You know those sweet lines : 

"Afflictions, though they seem severe 
Are oft in mercy sent — 
They stopped the Prodigal's career, 
And caused him to repent." 

"Yes, Jack, through error we reach truth, through strug- 
gles we gain victory, through shame and regret we are led to 
the cross and true repentance ,and then love leads us on to the 
throne. God can and does take our blunders and mistakes some- 
times — yes, even our wilful sins — and overrules them for a 
higher end. Some of the noblest and most consecrated Christian 
women in all the world, were once anything but virtuous, but the 
purifying, cleansing blood of Jesus made them 'whiter than 
snow' ; they 'loved much, because much was forgiven.' Don't 
ever -think that because things go contrary and cris-cross, that 
the Lord has forsaken His own. Never! Remember that He 
was in the ship, though the desciples were afraid of the storm. 

"Ah! Jack, the love of God is a boundless ocean; believe 
confidently, pray fervently, expect largely, walk humbly and 
repent daily. Why fret and worry? We are here for such a 
little time; the race is short at best, the pilgrimage rough, the 
voyage dangerous, the combat fierce, but we 'can do all things 
through Christ who strengthened us' ; and there is a glorous 
reward for the faithful ; a happy end, a triumphant victory, eter- 
nal life and a heavenly mansion." 

A suspicious moisture had gathered in the lawyer's eyes 
and he turned his face from the doctor, but spoke not a word. 
The good old man had tactfully talked on, carefully watching 
for some sign of the Spirit's softening influence, and now ten- 
derly and gently, every word breathing of Christian love and 
sympathy, he spoke again : 

"My dear boy, drive that demon of jealousy from your 
bosom, or I fear you and Theo will have serious trouble. You 
cannot subdue her proud spirit, but you may kill her love for you. 
A pure woman will never submit to jealous suspicion. Don't 
put a 'curb bit' on her; let her go her own way for awhile, 



148 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

and she will soon tire of it. Remember, you are fifteen years 
older than she, and had tired of society before she entered it. 
One person never learns by another's experienc and she will 
just have to learn as you did, that society is no good, and never 
satisfies a truly noble soul; and when the fitful fever is over 
she will be a steady, helpful, loving wife, better and stronger, 
perhaps, because of bitter experiences." 

"Perhaps," returned Jack, cut to the heart. "But my God! 
the risk, doctor, the risk! and how can I stand to have her 
flirt — " Jack stopped as he caught the doctor's reproachful and 
almost contemptuous glance. For a moment they gazed into each 
other's faces, but in guilty confusion, the lawyer soon dropped 
his eyes. The doctor, looking straight ahead, spoke musingly, as 
if to himself: 

"Well, well! what strange critters we mortals be anyhow. 
There's hardly a woman living who is not good enough for the 
best of men, any day in the year! Here's a fellow, though, 
who used to go in for the fastest kind of a life ; he flirted with 
married and single ; had several fights about other men's wives ; 
was mixed up in the biggest kind of a scandal and did a lot 
of things he wouldn't dare tell his wife about. Yet, he thinks 
he deserves an angel for a mate. He demands that his little 
girl-wife shall fly from dangers that she is too innocent to know 
exist, and he would raise the very old Harry, if she should 
let another so much as kiss her hand in mock gallantry. Well, 
well, well." 

Jack looked at his old friend resentfully and said in a hard 
strained voice: "I would break your head if you were any one 
else. I never would have thought that you would bring up 
old scores like this — things that have been forgotten by man and 
forgiven by God. I am painfully surprised and grieved to think 
you, who I thought my best friend, have treasured in your 
heart the sins of my youth. I think you have missed your 
calling. You should have been the preacher — not I," bitterly. 

The old doctor laughingly ignored Jack's attitude, and 
replied : 

"Bless your soul, my boy, I do preach every day. One 
doesn't have to wear the long tailed coat and stove pipe hat to 
become a preacher. I'm doing my best just now, to lead a 
'wandering sheep' back into the fold, where he may walk in 
green pastures and beside the still waters ; but it's a contrary old 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 149 

ram, and he shakes his head, shows his horns, gives a snort of 
defiance, kicks up his heels and declares he'll stay out till he 
gets ready to return of his own free will; and maybe then the 
gate will be closed against him forever ; poor old ram ! Or maybe 
he'll continue to wander in forbidden paths, till after awhile his 
wool will be so full of briars, thorns and cockle-burrs, that he'll 
bring nothing worth having to his master. But the master is a 
good shepeherd and can shear off the tangled fleece, and if the 
old rascal lives long enough, he may at last furnish a little pure 
white wool which may be used for good by the weaver of destiny. 
But it is such a pity — such a waste of time and — wool!" 

Jack could not repress a sigh of relief as he saw his office 
in sight. He was anxious to get away from this friend who was 
too honest to pat him on the back and call him "good boy" 
under any and all circumstances. Truly, the doctor had aggra- 
vated that case of "blue devils" instead of bringing him relief. 

"Here we are at your office, and I haven't given you the 
chance to get a word in edgeways," chuckled the doctor, stopping 
his machine. 

Jack sprang out. His accusing conscience bade him ascknowl- 
edge the truth and the old man's wisdom, but it was hard for 
this strong man to do. He could not confess, even to this life- 
long friend that he had lost the joys of salvation,though he 
admitted it to himself. 

His hearty grip of the hand, and the light in his gray eyes 
spoke more eloquently than words could have done, though he 
did manage to stammer confusedly : 

"Doctor, you are my one true friend — in spite of all — in 
spite of how you have hurt me — I know that, and I thank you. 
But it hurts, oh! how it hurts." The doctor still clung to his 
hand : 

"Yes, my boy, it hurts to probe for a bullet or to pull a 
tooth ; but when all is over and the wound healed, all parties 
repoice. It hurts a doctor to do surgical work, but he knows 
what is best for his patient, and goes ahead cutting off legs, 
arms or whatever is required to save life. It is not at all pleas- 
ant work, but the end justifies the means. God bless you, Jack, 
jump back into the pasture, and my word for it, all will come 
right at last. Good-bye, my dear boy, good-bye," and the doctor 
was gone. 

Jack went slowly up the office steps, his heart and soul 



150 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM • 

stirred with conflicting emotions. He was miserable. That song 
and the half sobbing voice of the singer haunted him. He 
wished he had followed the impulse of his heart and had gone 
into the parlor and taken the little woman in his arms. But 
then, why hadn't she met him at breakfast, if she really was 
"longing for the flowers that had blossomed and fled." He hardly 
knew which he wanted most, peace with God, or peace with 
Theo. Could he have both ? If he turned to God as he fervently 
wished he could do, he could never allow another ball in his 
house — nor sanction one by his presence. And what would Theo 
say to such restrictions? 

Slowly it dawned on his mind that if he had always stood 
firm and strong on his convictions of right, she would have 
respected his wishes and have had more reason to respect him. 
But during their honeymoon they had attended balls innumer- 
able, and he, too, had danced and wajtzed with the gayest, and 
when he wanted to "call a halt" she was not at all ready; and as 
he seemingly for a time enjoyed them as he did years ago, what 
could he say? 

Jimmie, the bright sixteen-year-old red headed, freckled 
faced, blue-eyed office boy, had already swept, dusted and placed 
everything in apple-pie order, and was looking earnestly through 
a ponderous volume of law. His face brightened when Jack 
entered and greeted him pleasantly, and it was easy to see the 
boy loved his employer devotedly. Presently he spoke, and his 
voice had a ring of decision : 

"I've given up being like you, Mr. Jack." Jack caught his 
breath. Had he fallen in Jimmie's estimation, too? 

"Glad to hear it, Jimmie ; I'm certainly not worthy to be 
your model — I know that much," humbly. 

"Mr. Jack, you are the best man living. Where would I be 
now if you, hadn't taken me offen the streets? Where was I 
headed to? Why, straight to perdition, with a full head of 
steam and no brakes, no father* no mother to love me or care 
what became of my carcass. But words ain't no account, — it'll 
take the devotion and love of my whole life, to repay what I owe 
you. But I just meant I won't be a lawyer as we have planned 
and talked about. I'd never learn all this," tapping the big 
book. "But I am going to be a detective," earnestly. 

"Oh, well, then, we will still be partners," smiling. "You 
can catch the game and I'll skin 'em." 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM lol 

• 

CHAPTER III. 

"Some trifle light as nothing 

Caused our difference at first ; 
But in my heart the planting 

Of the anger seed I nursed, 
Until it grew and strengthened, 

A weed with blooms full blown, 
And now I reap the harvest 

Of the seed in passion sown." 

Jimmie detected something wrong in the loved voice, and 
glancing with quick concern at his employer's troubled face, he 
felt instinctively that his levity was assumed and his cheerful- 
ness forced. 

"Oh, yes, a ball last night," he mused. "Mr. Jack is always 
like this after a big to-do. Wonder why? I'd never want to 
go to one of the blamed things if I thought they'd effect me 
that way." 

The lawyer had taken a seat at his desk, showing very little 
interest in the pile of unopened mail that Jimmie had carefully 
arranged near to his hand. But there was something else on 
the desk that had the man's immediate attention. It was a 
lovely photograph of his wife taken two years ago, when a bride 
of one year. The face was pure and innocent as a little child's 
and gazed with a kind of soft rapture from the frame of crimson 
plush. Theo had placed the picture there when first taken, and 
when he thanked her, she had playfully pulled his ears and in 
mock solemnity, declared it was to remind him of her existence 
when he had lady clients calling for advice. 

Just now he looked on the picture with mingled tenderness 
and regret, studying every feature as if each line and curve 
were not indelibly stamped upon his heart. The memory of last 
night's stormy interview was like lead in his bosom, and oppress- 
ed him with a sense of uneasiness. He had never seen Theo 
like that before, though they quarreled frequently of late. Ah, 
why had he not gone to her there in the parlor? Wasn't that 
song a prayer for his love? — for the sweet things that had fled 
from their lives? Was her heart aching as his? Did she care? 
— if so why did she refuse him a good-night kiss? Then his 
accusing conscience cried : "She did right — you refused her 



152 » FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

first ! Do you expect always to bend that lovely creature to your 
will? Is she a child to be petted one moment and scolded the 
next? Didn't she plead for your love? Didn't she show that in 
her heart she longed to share all things in common with you? 
Had you encouraged her she would have opened her heart to you 
as she has not done for so long. But no, you treated her worse 
than a brute would have done — scorned her tender pleading and 
even insulted her beyond pardon when she timidly spoke on a 
subject which she had never before approached." 

How could he have been so cruel? Jack wondered. It was 
then that she had so bitterly denounced him, declaring she would 
no longer submit to such treatment. • Oh, heaven ; had he 
wounded her past forgiveness? He realized at last that she 
was no longer a child, but a proud, passionate woman, such as 
he had never dreamed of her being. With a pang of remorse he 
remembered her childish, trusting confidence during the first 
year of their married life ; how she would hide in the shrubbery 
or swing on the front gate, waiting for him in the evening ; how 
her lovely face would light up at sight of him and she would -cry 
out in glad welcome: — "Oh, Jack; home at last, you dear old 
precious darling," and he would playfully retort, "You kiss my 
foot," while she would declare she loved him well enough to do 
that very thing, and as soon as they were in doors she would 
almost smother him in kisses. Then she would help him take 
off his over coat and would bring his slippers, bustling around 
in a sweet little fussy way until he was seated in a great arm 
chair; then she would sit on a low hassock at his feet, leaning 
lovingly against him, or perch herself on the chair arm, with 
both her arms around his neck and her face against his, she 
would tell him of every little detail, of the day, talking in a 
cheery, bird-like way, ever and anon calling him her "own 
darling." 

He remembered too, — how distinctly! — that he had grown 
a little tired of such childish "gush," and had tried in a clumsy, 
blundering way to make her understand that he would like for 
her to be a little more dignified and a little less demonstrative. 
He remembered as if it were but yesterday, how she had drawn 
awaj" from his arms and gazed with wide troubled eyes for a 
full minute into his face, seeking evidence that she had misun- 
derstood; how at last the dark eyes filled with tears, the sweet 
lips trembled and her cheeks grew white as she spoke in puzzled 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 153 

amazement : 

"Do you mean, dearest, that when you come home after 
being away from me all the long day, I must not run to the 
gate to meet you? — I must not be so glad to have you with me 
again? — I must not caress you? — must check every impulse 
which says so plainly that I love you? All right! Your royal 
highness shall be obeyed." Then she had fled from him, locked 
herself in her room and refused to come out or admit him, 
and for two long hours he had paced up and down the hall, alter- 
nately cursing himself for wounding the "sensitive child," and 
pleading at the door for a chance to explain. But he had never 
been able to make a satisfactory explanation, and since that day 
had never received an unsought caress, nor had any reason to 
complain of childish "gush." 

Oh, if he could just have Theo back as she was in those 
happy days — sweet and innocent, trusting and confiding! Oh, 
to have the comforting assurance that a vision of girlish loveli- 
ness would be hidden in the shrubbery or swinging on the 
gate to welcome him home — that a soft little hand would steal 
into his on the walk to the house! Oh, to have her perched on 
his chair with her arms twined lovingly around his neck in that 
sweet , childish way that had once wearied him. Oh, to hear 
those rose-bud lips whisper between loving kisses as of old, "My 
precious, darling boy!" But the past was gone — could never be 
recalled — all was over now, — she had said she would never for- 
give him. Jack groaned aloud in anguish, forgetting the young 
"detective" who was watching him in deep concern and much 
perplexity, and now swiftly crossing the room, stood at his side : 

"Got a headache, Mr. Jack? CanJ do anything for you?" 
anxiously. 

"No, Jimmie, no, — just suffering a reaction from last 
night's revelry." 

"Had a swell time, I guess, didn't you?" 

"That's probably the popular verdict. But I pronounce it a 
dickens of a time — something especially pleasing to the devil, 
I think." Jimmie's eyes opened wide in surprise. 

"Don t you enjoy 'em, Mr. Jack?" 

The lawyer laughed bitterly : 

No, Jimmie, not as I once did. The devil shows his hoofs, 
horns and tail too plainlv. He is not at all discreet when at a 
ball." 



154 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

"Well, beg pardon, sir; — but why do you go in for such 
things then?" 

"Oh, it's a duty we owe society, my boy — and you'd better 
spell society with every letter a capital," sarcastically. 

The hours dragged slowly away. There were several clients 
and an extra amount of business to attend to, so the lawyer 
could not run home for his two o'clock lunch as he had hoped, 
and phoned to Theo that he would go to a restaurant as usual on 
busy days. He tried to .get up a conversation with her, but "All 
right," "yes," and "no," were the only responses that came 
from her, and he said "good-bye" reluctantly, turning from the 
phone with a sigh that was not lost on the observant Jimmie, 
who had covertly watched him all day with his blue eyes half 
closed in that peculiar way he had, when puzzling over a hard 
problem. 

It was now half -past three and the busy man saw no chance 
to get away before seven, or later, and bit his lips with impati- 
ence, feeling half inclined to go out and tear down his sign and 
throw up the whole thing. He wondered with a sickening sense 
of desolation, how he could go home at all, if Theo really should 
go to Europe, with twelve long months and hundreds of miles 
separating them. In the meantime, Jimmie's quick wit and 
keen perception had solved the problem, at least to his own sat- 
isfactnon. He felt intuitively that there had been a domestic 
jar, but it could be nothing serious, he was sure. Looking from 
the window he suddenly called out suggestively : 

"Oh, Mr. Jack ! Just look across at the florist's. Did you 
ever see such lovely carnations ? Gee ! when I get rich and have 
a purty wife, I'll send her some like them. Say, now wouldn't 
Mrs. Theo have a fit over them beauties? I've heard her say 
lots of times when she was up her, and admiring the florist's 
flowers, that carnations were her favorites." 

Jack glanced furtively at the boy, and mentally decided 
that "the young rascal" really had detective ability. Taking a 
bill from his pocket, he said to Jimmie : "Go and get the finest 
dozen he has — no — wait. I'll select them myself," he added, 
reaching for his hat. 

"That would be better, Mr. Jack, and she will appreciate 
'em more." Jack soon returned with the fragrant flowers beau- 
tifully arranged in a long moss lined box of artistic design, and 
with the light of a new resolve in his eyes. Seating himself at 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 155 

his desk and glancing at the lovely photo before him, the stern, 
cynical lawyer yielded to a tender impulse, and wrote his wife 
a love letter, every line breathing forth the anguish and remorse 
of his heart, and pleading for a return of what he had lost. 

"Dearest, darling little wife : I have been a brute and am 
not worthy to be forgiven ; but if you knew how terribly I have 
suffered and how sincerely repented through this day which 
seems unending, your tender heart would pity and forgive me. 
Dearest one, I think I never loved you so much -as now when I 
begin to fear that I have lost your love. I, too, am 'longing for 
the flowers that have blossomed and fled.' Dear heart, be gen- 
erous and give me the chance to make the flowers bloom again. 
Oh, my little angel, I never have been and never shall be worthy 
of you^ but if you will come back to my heart as in the sweet 
happy past, I will be true to the trust. Darling, try and under- 
stand that it was my great love that made me so insanely 
jealous. Didn't you know it, Pet? Meet me this evening down 
at the gate just as you used to do — please do. And then if you 
want to make me the happiest man in existence, when we get 
into the house, come to me of your own sweet will, throw your 
arms around my neck and call me your 'Boy,' for my heart is 
starving for your sweet caresses. Sweetheart, it is such a short 
time till you go to Europe — if you really will go and leave your 
'Boy.' Oh, for God's sake, forgive me and let us be happy 
while we may. I have so much to say to my precious one this 
evening I can hardly wait till I can tear myself away from this 
hateful office and come to you, my own. Now, dearest, please 
accept these flowers and this note as proof of my sincere repent- 
ance, and come to the gate to meet your 'Boy' if you love him 
ever so little. Bye-bye, till I see my Pet. Your own Jack." 

Perhaps the lawyer would have been ashamed of his note, 
and called it too much "gush" if he had taken time to read it 
over; but a client came in just then, and hastily placing the note 
in among the flowers he tied the box carefully with violet rib- 
bons and sent Jimmie to deliver them to Theo. The boy felt 
that he was a messenger of peace, and with joy in his loyal heart, 
was soon ringing the bell at the Arlington home. Theo opened 
the door herself and came out dressed in a dark traveling 
costume, with heavy veil over her face. A cab man came out 
with a heavy valise and took it to a carriage that was waiting 
at the gate. Theo did not notice Jimmie till he spoke : 



156 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

"Here is a present from Mr. Jack and it seems that I got here 
just in time — It's a box of carnations, madam, the finest I ever 
ever seen in my life," he stammered placing the box in her hands 
with an uncomfortable feeling that something was wrong. 

"Thank you, Jimmie — and thank Jack; but no — you didn't 
get them here in time," and Jimmie detected a queer little catch in 
her voice. Then she walked quickly out to the carriage, sprang 
in and closed the doqr, and was driven rapidly away leaving 
Jimmie looking after her in deep perplexity. 

"Gee! something is wrong — I feel it in my bones. There's 
a screw loose somewhere in this here domestic machinery. But 
no, maybe I'm too. smart. I hain't seen anything to rouse my 
suspicion — no, by jings, it's what I feel in the wind, that gets 
me all choked up and my mind befuddled." But try as he would, 
Jimmie could not banish that oppressive something that whis- 
pered that trouble was in store for his beloved Mr. Jack, though 
he never dreamed how terribly serious. He hurried back to the 
office but there were several people claiming the attention of the 
lawyer, and it was more than an hour before he had the chance 
to speak: . 

"I got there just as she was going out somewhere, Mr. Jack, 
and she said they did not come in time, but sent thanks." 

"Did not come in time for what? Good God! — " he gasped, 
dropping into his seat. Then bravely pulling himself together, 
he continued : 

"Oh, yes, she was going to the big ball, I suppose. Who had 
come for her — Lady Carruther?" trying to hide his agony and 
suspense. 

"That was just it, I guess, Mr. Jack, for she had a valise; 
guess her dress was in there. And she was going ahead to have a 
little visit. No, sir, there wasn't anybody else as I saw, — only 
the cab man." returned Jimmie, his heart aching with appre- 
hension. 

"And she did not take the flowers — did not open the box — 
nor read the note?" and the lawyer's hands trembled in spite of 
his efforts at self control. 

"Oh, yes, sir, she took 'em with her. She was in a big 
hurry. Guess she opened the box soon as she was in the car- 
riage." The lawyer scorned to quiz the boy or let him see the 
effect his information was having. But it was in vain that he 
fought against the icy hand that clutched at his heart, and curtly 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 157 

dismissed his remaining client, saying it was his hour to close, 
Jack was soon on his way home. No one met him at the gate. 
No sweet vision of girlish beauty met him at the door with lov- 
ing words of welcome. No soft white arms were twined around 
his neck — there were no rosebud lips waiting to caress him. 
Jack groaned aloud. A distant jingle of silver told him that 
faithful old Chloe was arranging his supper but where, or where, 
could Theo be? 

"Calling the house keeper and assuming an I-know-all-about 
-it air, he quietly asked if Theo had left any final message for 
him. 

"Oh, yes sir. She was dreadfully cut up about leaving with- 
out seeing you again, but it was so near train time when the tele- 
gram came and she said her friend was at the point of death. 
Yes, sir, there's a letter on your desk." 

"All right, thank you," And lighting a cigar, Jack walked 
unconcernedly to his room, entered and closed the door. Had she 
really gone to the bedside of a dying friend or was that just a 
simple ruse to outwit the house keeper, and keep the servants 
from gossiping? Oh, God," he groaned, dashing the cigar from 
the window and sinking into a chair, "Oh, God, have mercy on 
me — be good to me this once!" and with trembling hands he 
opened the letter : 

"Good-bye, Jack, good-bye forever, I know you do not love 
me and tolerate me only because you dread public opinion. I care 
nothing for it, and have left you forever. Don't try to find me, 
for it would be a vain endeavor and I'd die before I'd submit to 
such insults as you heaped upon me last night. I'll never forgive 
you — no, never ! You can tell "society" that I have gone to Boston 

to see a sick friend, and that I will go from there to 

anywhere you please. 

"Oh, Jack, this is so hard to bear. My heart almost fails me, 
but you have said that you are sorry, and that we are as far apart 
as the poles ; so farewell. I hope you will be happy, though I am 
heart-broken. 

. Theo." 



158 FROM BALL ROOM TO 'WEAVE ROOM 

CHAPTER IV 

"If thou but suffer God to guide thee, 
And hope in Him through all thy ways, 
He'll give thee strength, whate'er betide thee 

And bear thee through the evil days. 
Who trusts in God's unchanging love, 
Builds on a Rock that naught can move. 

"God knows full well when gladness 

Shall be the needful thing for thee ; 
When He has tried thy soul with sadness, 
And from all guile has found thee free, 
He'll come to thee all unaware, 
And make thee own his loving care." 

When Dr. Brown reached his home about nine o'clock in the 
evening, he drew a deep tired sigh. Perhaps, too, there was 
more than weariness in that sigh. The great house seeemed as 
lonely to the old man as when his companion had first left him, 
for her Home above. In his daily ministrations among high and 
low, rich and poor, he saw much sorrow and suffering of heart 
and soul, caused by cruel and thoughtless words and actions, but 
somehow he had never before been so deeply interested, as m 
the trouble he had run across today. 

How strange it was, he thought, that people would not be 
happy when they could. Ah, if Jack and Theo would only profit 
by the bitter experiences of others — if they could only under- 
stand that half the misery in the world is caused by the sowing 
of seeds of unkind thoughts — and then the inevitable reaping. 
"There's nothing in the world to keep those two children from 
being happy, if they would only be reasonably sensible and for- 
bearing. It's so easy. I know they love each other. But ah, me. 
Theo has never tasted the joys of salvation, and Jack is in a 
worse fix than if he never had, I do believe. God can straighten 
it all out though, if they will only let Him," he concluded. 

As the doctor walked into his study, a man with tousled 
hair, pale, haggard, cold and trembling, staggered forward to 
meet him, with hands outstretched piteously and entreatingly. 
The light was burning brightly but the doctor did not at first 
recognize his visitor. When he did so he caught him by the 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 159 

shoulders and gazed with consternation into the suffering man's 
face and exclaimed : 

"Why, Jack! what is the matter? My boy, what is it?" 
in alarm. All thought of fatigue was gone now, and the good 
old man was concerned only for his friend, whose answer was a 
deep groan of mental anguish, and a silent, despairing shake of 
his head. 

"Jack — there, sit down and tell me your trouble," gently 
pushing him into a chair." "Is Theo ill? — why did you leave 
her?" But Jack answered not a word, and stared at the doctor 
in that awful unseeing way which bordered on insanity. Truly 
unless his mind was soon relieved, the results would be serious. 
Touching an electric button which summoned a servant, the doc- 
tor ordered a glass of wine, and forced it down the lawyer's dry 
throat. Then he drew a chair up close, and gently and lovingly 
as a woman, he stroked the cold and trembling hands and talked 
in soft, soothing manner, while his heart was silently pleading 
aid from on high, a source which never failed him. Presently 
he said, firmly: 

"Now Jack, you must tell me at once what is wrong." 

"I've killed her — my beautiful Theo — last night after the 
ball," came a queer voice. 

"Now, Jack," shaking him playfully, "that won't do — I've 
seen her twice today, and she was very much alive, I think." 

"But she is dead — dead to me — and all my fault! Oh, poor 
little girl ! Doctor you opened my eyes this morning, and I had 
determined to profit by the lesson. I have been a jealous brute 
of late, — but I loved her to distraction and could not bear to see 
her smile so sweetly on others. I have killed her love for me — 
I am wretched and undone! Read that," thrusting a crumpled 
note into the doctor's hand. It was Theo's note, and the good 
old man read it with an aching heart and silently returned it. 
Jack broke out again : 

"Doctor, stand by me in this dark hour of trial, and tell me 
what to do. I have just sense enough to know that I am on the 
verge of insanity. Help me, or I shall go mad." Oh, it was 
pitiful ! 

"My poor boy! Of course I'll stand by you. But this is so 
serious that I dare make no move till we get advice from higher 
source. 

You mean to call in detectives?" groaned Jack. 



160 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

"No, I had not thought of that. I mean — Jack will you 
kneel with me in prayer?" in a deep troubled voice. Jack's heart 
rose in rebellion : 

"Pray? Waste time praying to a cruel and unjust God who 
punishes me when I am making every effort to reform? I feel 
more like — " 

"Stop ! no more ! No man living, be he in the lowest depths 
of despair, shall speak so to me of my heavenly Father, and go 
unreproved. I love you, but I love my Maker more, and — Jack, 
will you kneel with me?" the old doctor's passionate protest 
ended in a tender plea, and without another word, poor Jack 
sank in humble silence to his knees by his friend, who grasped 
his hand as if determined to take him to a throne of grace, and 
prayed as man seldom prays — as if looking into the face of his 
heavenly father, and believing implicitly in his love and wisdom : 

"Father, Lord of heaven and earth we, thy little children 
are in trouble and sore distress, and come to Thee for help. We 
cannot see through the dark clouds of providence, but help us to 
trust thy plain and positive promises. Thou hast said, 'Fear 
not I am With thee ; be not dismayed ; For I am thy God. When 
thou passeth the waters I will be with thee; and through the 
rivers, they shall not overflow thee ; when thou walkest through 
the fire thou shalt not be burned ; neither shall the flames kindle 
upon thee.' 

"Oh, Father, we thank thee for such sweet promises, and 
for the comforting influence of the Holy Spirit. We know that 
Thou art able to straighten out all this tangle which so distresses 
and perplexes us, and make everything work out for our good 
and Thy glory. The tempest may howl and Satan may press us 
hard, but Jesus reigns forever. No earthly woe can mar Thy 
work or change Thy decree, and though the way is sometimes 
dark, we know there is light beyond. What Thou doest we know 
not now, but we shall know bye and bye, and will acknowl- 
edge it was for the best. Strengthen our faint hearts with the 
blessed assurance that Thou hast never forsaken a soul that 
trusted in Thee for help in time of trouble. Oh, God, cast out 
every fear; bid every doubt be gone, and let us feel that under- 
neath are the everlasting arms. Comfort us, oh Father, and give 
us that faith which gilds the darkened hour. We resign all into 
Thy wise hands and trust Thee to guide and direct our steps 
through the difficulties which lie before us. Be with the absent 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 161 

one, Oh, God, watch over and guard her from all harm. Save 
her, oh Father, and when it seemeth good to Thee, reunite these 
sundered hearts and make them one for Thee. We ask it all in 
the name of Jesus and for his sake. Amen." 

"Surely God will hear your prayer — He loves you," ex- 
claimed the lawyer hopefully as they rose from their knees. 
Thank heaven for such a friend as you are." 

"But Jack, there's still another friend if you will accept 
Him — one who 'sticketh closer than a brother,' returned the doc- 
tor, earnestly. Then after a pause : "My boy, how many know 
of this?" 

"No one besides ourselves — but Jimmie suspects something 
I think. The servants think she's gone to Boston to see a sick 
friend. They surely don't know that she took only a valise. But 
what shall I do? For God's sake let's do something or I shall 
go mad," groaned Jack. 

"You don't want this made public if it can be helped, so 
brace up and act your part like a man. Do you know how much 
money she took with her?" 

"Five thousand dollars. The rest of her money she made 
over to me. As if I could touch it — oh, Theo!" 

"How did she manage it?" gasped the doctor. 

"Why she simply made out two checks of ten thousand each, 
made payable to me, and left them with the note," and the lawyer 
almost choked. 

"Well, well, she's sharp. But you keep a stiff upped lip, my 
boy, and I am sure we shall soon find her," encouraged the doc- 
tor. 

"Oh, poor little girl! Poor little Theo! I'd give my life — 
my very soul, to have you back again," and Jack was almost be- 
side himself. 

"Now, Jack, brace up. Have faith in God. Just as sure as 
He rules on high He will bring you back together some sweet 
day, and you will love each other better for all this trouble. If 
I live long enough, I fully expect to hear you acknowledge that 
this trial was the greatest blessing that was ever bestowed upon 
you. Trials, troubles and tribulations are necessary, Jack, and 
they are bound to come. These light afflictions which are but for 
a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal 



162 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

weight of glory." 

"Doctor, I'd be so glad if I could believe and trust in God 
just as you do. I know it would bring comfort to my soul. But 
I forgot Him in days of happiness and prosperity, and cannot — 
will not, go to Him now. If I had been true to Him, I might 
approach Him with confidence." 

"Well, Jack, if you will not be led by the hand of mercy, 
you may expect to be driven by the hand of justice. God will 
have -His own." 

After a long talk in which many plans were discussed, it 
was decided that Jimmie must know. The lawyer was confident 
that it was perfectly safe to trust the boy, and besides, it was 
necessary to question him concerning the cab man. They also 
decided to place the matter in the hands of private detectives, 
with instructions to work secretly. They hoped to have the fair 
fugitive back before gossiping tongues began to wag, and to keep 
the dreadful truth from becoming public. After a few days 
had passed and no satisfactory clue had been obtained, Jack Ar- 
lington, a man who had always prided- himself on his strong 
will and self control, gave way to numb despair and was unfit 
for business. He could not go through the farce of playing in- 
difference, when his whole heart and soul were torn with ten 
thousand conflicting emotions. Where, oh, where could Theo be? 

Who had helped her to plan such a thing? Had any one? 
How could she, dear little thing, who had always been so de- 
pendent on him to direct her, how could she so successfully have 
hidden her tracks? Had a fate worse than death overtaken her? 
Had she been lured from home by some one she trusted and 
forcibly placed in some den of vice? These and other horrible 
thoughts presented themselves before the man's mind while con- 
science loudly declared that he alone was the cause of it all, and 
no wonder the man was almost mad. 

Then the thought that she did not wish to be found — the 
very fr?.t that she had declared she would never forgive him, 
haunted him day and night, waking or sleeping. But the doctor 
tried to encourage him, and always quoted these sentences from 
her note: "Oh, Jack, this is hard to bear. My heart almost 
fails me ; but you say you are sorry and that we are as far apart 
as the poles, — so farewell. I hope you will be happier. I am 
heartbroken," and he contended that she loved him still and was 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 163 

heartbroken over the gulf that separated them and the desperate 
step she was taking. Dr. Brown never lost hope and he was a 
source of great comfort to the lawyer who was growing thin and 
pale under the burden of a sorrow that was far worse than death. 

In a few days he took down his sign and gave up his busi- 
ness, and with the faithful Jimmie who watched over him with 
all the tender solicitude of a woman, he left New York on a 
secret mission, — left to travel over the Northern States, in quest 
of the loved and lost. 

The leading New York papers startled society, by announc- 
ing that "Mrs. Jack Arlington, who has been for several days in 
Boston, has been joined by her husband whose health is very 
much impaired of late, owing to too close application to busi- 
ness. They are to cross the deep blue ocean for a visit through 
foreign countries, and will probably be gone for several months, 
if not a year. It will all depend on the distinguished lawyer's 
health. They will, be greatly missed in social circles, as Mrs. 
Arlington is a decided favorite among the fashionable set. Their 
many friends wish them a happy voyage and a speedy return to 
New York." 

Old Dr. Brown heard from them occasionally, he declared, 
but was not at liberty to furnish an address, as "Jack wished to 
rest." He would spin a little yarn sometimes, about their 'ad- 
ventures' in foreign lands, and then ask God to forgive him if 
it was wrong to keep Jack's secret at the expense of truth. 

In the meantime, detectives were busily engaged, trying in 
vain to trace the steps of the lost one, but never one clue could 
they get which led farther than a certain street where she had left 
one carriage and taken another. The detectives reported every 
clay to Dr. Brown, and he in turn would communicate with Jack, 
who kept him posted as to his whereabouts. Day after day, 
week after week, month after month, the search went on, till 
at last Jack gave up all hope. He would not return to New York, 
yet, though, for he could not bear old associations and familiar 
scenes, nor' the many questions that solicitous friends were sure 
to ask. 

Jimmie kept his eyes open, and was never satisfied if he 
could not get a glimpse of every veiled face, hoping against hope 
that he might be the one to find a clue, and bring a ray of hope 
and comfort to the sad heart of his beloved employer. 



164 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

CHAPTER V 

"Yesterday, now, is a part of forever 

Bound up in a sheath which God holds tight, 

With glad days and sad days and bad days which never 
Shall visit us more with their bloom and their blight, 

Their fullness of sunshine or sorrowful night." 

As Theo watched Jack from the lawn that morning, she 
knew it was for the last time. Clinging to the lilac bush for sup- 
port she watched him till lost to view. Then her white lips 
whispered : 

"Gone! gone, forever. Oh, Jack, my once loving and be- 
loved husband, farewell ! You love me no longer — you are tired 
of me, and I will go. Dear Jack, I wonder if you will some times 
think of me tenderly? Good bye!" 

When he left her without word, paid no heed to her passion- 
ate heart cry as she sang in the parlor, her mind was fully made 
up. As his steps died away in the hall and she heard the front 
door open and close, hope died and her heart seemed turned to 
stone. She had been abused and insulted, now she was forsaken, 
and her passionate, impulsive and sensitive nature rose in bitter 
rebellion. She was wounded, grieved and angry, and as she 
walked out on the lawn, her blue silk morning dress trailing 
unheeded over the dewy grass, her head proudly erect and hands 
clasped together, she was a gloriously beautiful woman — proud 
and defiant. But when Jack was lost to view and she realized 
that she should never see him again, love conquered pride, and 
that agonized whisper, "good bye," told how terrible was the 
struggle. 

Slowly retracing her steps to the house, she went to her 
room and took herself in hand. Going to a full length mirror, 
she gazed in consternation on the pale face reflected there. 
Presently she stamped her foot and cried out scornfully, angrily : 
"For shame, Theodosia Arlington! — no, I guess you are The- 
odosia Grey again, after this. I don't know about that yet. But 
don't you dare lose your color or your senses over the perfidy 
of any man, do you hear? I'll simply hate you beyond endurance 
if you give way to a silly, sickening, sentimentality, and let pride 
take a back seat. I don't know what you are going to do but it 
will be best for you to learn something, something that will keep 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 165 

your mind and energies occupied. You are young, healthy and 
strong, and can work if you wish to. Jack Arlington is nothing 
to you — cares nothing for you; keep that in mind eternally if 
you cannot altogether forget his existence. He has wounded 
and insulted you beyond pardon — remember that when you think 
of him. You have ruined his life, too, I guess, but you did not 
seek him out and woo him with honeyed words as he did you, 
so don't worry. You won't need to take all your money as you 
are going to find work, so you can leave some to the man who is 
so sorry he married you, as a sort of reparatiton for the uninten- 
tional wrong you did him when you said 'yes.' Now get about 
your business, and break down if you dare!" Pride had come 
to the rescue, and her color had returned. 

As has been stated she arranged for Jack to get all her 
money except five thousand dollars, which she carefully sewed in 
her underwear placing enough in her purse for immediate needs ; 
but she never once thought of her real estate property which 
brought in a large yearly income. 

After making all her arrangements she had a short confer- 
ence with her housekeeper, and asked that she call Jack's atten- 
tion to the note she had left on his desk. 

Theo had laid no plans. She had no idea which train she 
would take or in what direction she would go, — her one and only 
mature idea being to get away from Jack, securely hide herself 
from all who had ever known her, and to forget the past; to 
begin life over again in some far distant and isolated place, 
where she would not be thrown continually into society. Society ! 
ah, was she beginning to hate it as Jack did? She wondered. 
If so, they could be happy yet — but no, love was dead and could 
never be resurrected. She was an unloved wife — did not even 
have her husband's respect, she thought. Had she merited such 
bitter reproach from him? The memory of past scenes rose be- 
fore her mental vision, and the red blood rushed in a guilty tor- 
rent over her face; she remembered a too passionate clasp of 
hands, half unconscious embraces, expressive eyes and impas- 
sioned tones of ardent admirers during the mazy waltz. 

Had she indeed been on the verge of an awful precipice and 
in clanger of toppling over into a yawning chasm to be wrecked on 
the treacherous rocks of temptation and vanity? The thought 
startled her at first. Then laughing recklessly she said: "No, 



166 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

I've not been in the least danger of falling. I can take care of 
myself. I've done no wrong and never shall be false to my mar- 
riage vows ; but I won't be a living corpse — I won't die till I have 
to, for death is the end of everything, I am sure. If there really 
were such places as heaven and hell, and such a thing as eternity, 
and if people truly believed it, there would be a mighty stirring 
time and a big change in this old universe. But it is all nonsense 
and I won't think of it. Life is what we make it — either heaven 
or hell — and death is the end." And she resolutely banished the 
subject from her mind. 

She did not fully realize until the last how it would wrench 
and tear her heart to leave the pretty home nest where for a 
time she had been so supremely happy as Jack's wife. She 
wandered from room to room, touching with reverent hands the 
different articles of furniture and daintj^ furnishings, wonder- 
ing what Jack would do witth everything. Perhaps he would 
get a divorce and marry Cora Sullivan, who was now a widow. 
The thought made her shudder, though in her inmost soul she 
knew he would never marry again. But what if he did? Who 
cared? It could make no difference to her. Then she immedi- 
ately did something that stamped the assertion as a libel. 

She was ready to go; her hat and veil had already been 
fastened ; she paused for a moment in the hall and looked around ; 
there were no servants in sight, so, snatching a pair of Jack's 
gloves from a small stand and kissing them passionately, she 
carefully placed them in her bosom. Then running into the 
parlor, she opened a lovely pearl and plush covered album, drew 
out one of Jack's pictures and placed that, too, over her heart, 
feeling guilty as any thief. Bitter tears rushed to her eyes, but 
were dried with angry vehemence. Her heart beat suffocatingly, 
but with iron will she mastered the pain, and with one more 
hungry look around, she drew her veil down carefully and with 
dignity and haughty bearing walked out on the broad piazza, 
followed by the cab man who had just entered for her valise, 
and there was Jimmie with Jack's peace offering. 

It was with great difficulty that. she controlled her emotions 
and walked to her carriage. 

"Where to ma'am?" inquired the man, hearing no order' 
given. Theo had been thinking rapidly. She must not go 
straight to the depot, for she must manage to outwit Jimmie; 
guilty conscience already declared that he was suspicious. 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 167 

She must cover her tracks so no one could trace her. "Drive 
to .Bellas, Hess & Co., Broadway," she said in a low voice. 

When she arrived at the place indicated, she dismissed the 
man, saying it would be some time before she was ready to re- 
turn. As he carried her valise to the door of the big clothing 
establishment, Theo spoke in a low tone to another cab man : 

"Double pay if you wait here for me five minutes." 

"All right, Miss," touching his hat politely. 

She changed carriages three or four times before reaching 
the depot and believed that she had succeessfully covered her 
tracks from any who were disposed to make inquiries 

Finding that the next train out was going South, she pur- 
chased a ticket to Washington and was soon speeding on her 
journey — where? She did not know — she did not care. All 
places were alike to her now — any place where she could hide in 
safety was a welcome retreat. She reached Washington after 
traveling nearly all night, and having had only a few moments 
sleep the past forty-eight hours, she felt compelled for health's 
sake to stop over and take a few hours rest. 

Going to a fashionable hotel, she had an early breakfast and 
went to her room ; and there in the quiet solitude of her chamber, 
she untied the ribbons to look at Jack's flowers. Their sweet 
fragrance had oppressed her during the whole journey, but she 
felt that she could not look on them till alone. Now with pale 
face, compressed lips and trembling hands, she tenderly lifted 
the lovely carnations from the damp, moss-lined box, still delight- 
fully fresh and fragrant. Her breath came in quick dry sobs 
and she pressed one hand to her heart as she spied the little three- 
cornered note clinging lovingly to the flowers. Jack had actually 
written ! With a great lump in her throat which seemed about 
to choke her into suffocation, she read and re-read Jack's penitent 
plea for pardon and restoration to favor. Over and over again 
she read the touching lines till every word seemed burned into 
ner brain, men with a cry tnat seemed the wail of a soul 
eternally damned, she fell half conscious across her bed, with the 
flowers and. note crushed against her breaking heart. Oh, if she 
could but die! Oh, if merciful unconsciousness would but come 
to her aid ! But no ; to be keenly alive and painfully conscious 
of the hell she had made for herself was to be her doom. In 
bitterest agony she cried out : 



168 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

"Too late, too late ! Oh God ! what have I done, what have I 
done? Oh, to be safe at home with dear, darling Jack as in the 
happy past! Poor boy, how he must have suffered to have 
humbled himself like this — to have written so touchingly. But, 
oh, God! it's too late, too late! He could never forgive me this 
desperate step, even if I could forgive his insults — which I can't," 
she cried desperately. Words failed, but her brain kept busy. 
Perhaps she was even now the subject of a big New York 
' scandal, and Jack's name disgraced. She could easily imagine 
how gossiping tongues would wag, and how "society" would 
enjoy dissecting her character. She could not cry, but moaned 
pitifully in her anguish, wringing her trembling hands till the 
stones in her costly rings almost cut the dainty fingers. 

She took Jack's gloves and tried to make them stand out as 
if filled with his hands, then she tenderly pressed her face upon 
them, closed her eyes and tried to imagine that Jack was with 
her, and the past few hours only a hideous dream. Oh, it was 
pitiful, but too late ! She had taken this desperate step and must 
go on to the bitter end. And what was that to be? 

After spending the whole day in a vain endeavor to sleep, 
Theo decided to spend the night. She slept towards morning, 
and far up into the day, but arose with a wretched headache, and 
a feeling of terrible oppresion. She had refreshments brought 
to her room and in the afternoon, finding that she could no longer 
bear her own company, she made her way to the ladies' parlor 
and soon made friends with a pretty little girl of four summers, 
who was there with her mother from Lynchburg, Va. Little 
Ella Evans was a most interesting child and Theo half uncon- 
scionsly wondered if a little child of her own would have effected 
her life — and Jack's. Ella presently brought her mother to "see 
the pretty lady" and gave them a quaint introduction: 

"Miss Feeo Gway, this is my muvver, this is Miss Feeo 
Gway. I hope you'll be dood friends, cause I love you bofe, 
amen." The childs mother smiled fondly on her little e:irl, then 
turning with simple grace and dignity to Theo, she offered her 
hand, saying kindly: "Mrs. Annie Evans, is my name, Miss 
Gray," with a hurried glance over the neat black-robed figure 
before her, and wondering that one so young and lovely should 
be so sad. 

"Mrs. Gray," corrected Theo, as she took the proffered 
hand, and looked into the lady's bright face, her. own very pale. 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 169 

"Dear me, excuse me, but you look so young to be married. 
And you have recently lost some dear one?" gently touching the 
girl's black dress. The tears welled up into Theo's dark eyes. 
The voice was so kind and sympathetic, she could not resent the 
familiar speech. Lost a loved one! Ah, had she not lost the 
dearest and most loved ? She answered : 

"Yes, oh, yes — my husband," almost choking with emo- 
ttion. 

"Oh, do forgive me — I would not have wounded you thus 
for the world," cried Mrs. Evans in distress, clasping Theo's 
hand in both her own. "It is my misfortune to have a dreadfully 
unruly tongue, and I am always blundering and hurting some 
one, and oh, so unintentionally. And you are all alone? Come 
and sit down/' leading Theo to a wide comfortable settee away 
from the chattering crowd. 

"All alone, Mrs. Evans, — here and everywhere, so far as 
relatives are concerned. I am an orphan, as well as a widow. 
And oh, you don't know how thankful I am for the pleasure and 
comfort of having some one to talk with," lifting Ella to a seat 
between them. 

"You poor child! And where are you going? — if I may ask 
without being rude?" Theo blushed painfully. She had not yet 
decided, but spoke up bravely : 

"I am going to visit in the Carolinas — shall travel around a 
good bit, I think, as I am fond of sight seeing — then I shall settle 
down to work, if I can find employment." 

"What is your work? — but I fear you will think me rude." 

"Oh, no, not at all. Why, I have never done a moments 
work in my life. I don't know what I can do — but I am healthy 
and strong, and am sure I can learn almost anything that a 
woman may do. The only thing I dread is seeking a place — and 
I don't suppose an easy position will walk up and present itself," 
smiled Theo. Mrs." Evans looked at her earnestly and thought- 
fully. Presently she said : 

"I. too, am a widow, and support my mother, two children 
and myself. Shall I tell you about my work? I, too, have seen 
the day that I never thought of work, but everything was lost 
when my dear husband died, and I learned to work as well as 
pray." 

"Yes, indeed, I shall be only too glad to hear how you have 



170 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

managed. Providence, if there is such a thing, must have led me 
to you." 

Mrs. Evans smiled as she replied : 

"Well, prepare yourself for a shock, for I am sure you have 
been taught to despise my occupation and all who work at it. I 
was of the same opinion once, but necessity knows no law, and 
the lesson has been beneficial, for I learned to distinguish be- 
tween the real and the false. I assure you I tried everything 
else first, which held out hopes of an honest living, but was 
finally driven by desperation into a — be prepared for the 
shock" — laughingly — "cotton mill!" Theo opened her eyes in 
surprise : 

"I don't know anything about cotton mills — never saw 
one in my life. But I am afraid I am a little prejudiced against 
them from what I have read. However I will freely confess that 
my prejudices will be easily removed, if you are a cotton mill 
woman. I never imagined they would be — would be — at all de- 
sirable acquaintances," she stammered. 

"Of course dear, there are people employed in mills — as in 
every other occupation — who are not at all nice or desirable 
acquaintances. But it is unfair to judge the whole by tthe few. 
The majority of mill people these days have clean lives and spot- 
less characters, and many of them are well educated and refined. 
I have learned this by actual experience. Marie Van Vorst and 
other sensational writers from the North have cruelly slandered 
and misrepresented Southern mill people. One who has read 
'The Women Who Toil,' would feel justified in believing that mill 
people are the very scum of the earth. But such is not the case 
and I wish I could prove it to you, as you are a prejudiced Yankee 
from Yankeydom," laughingly. 

"I am sure since seeing you I should be easily convinced. 
But please tell me more about your work." Theo was deeply in- 
terested. 

"Well, I believe wages is generally the first and greatest con- 
sideration. I make about twelve dollars per week, on an average. 
I don't have to mix with anyone, or have anything to do with 
any one unless I wish. What I mean is this : a shop girl is com- 
pelled to wait on just any one, black or white, red or brown, and 
be as sweet as a peach to all, when half the time she feels dread- 
fully humiliated and inclined to tears. Now, it is not that way 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 171 

in a cotton mill. Every one has his or her own machines to 
attend to, — his or her own separate work to do, and each stays in 
his or her place ; personality and individuality are safe. I have 
tried many things and like weaving best of all." 

"Shop girls do not make so much either, do they?" 

"No indeed. And do you know, some of them actually 'look 
down on' mill girls who are just as nicely dressed, and better 
mannered. Can you think of anything more ridiculous? Is it 
not just as honorable to stand between the looms and weave the 
cloth, as it is to stand behind the counter and measure it out to 
every Tom, Dick and Harry who comes along? But this absurd 
prejudice is fast giving way to common sense and justice, and 
in many places mill people who are deserving, associate with the 
very best people, and are welcome in social circles where true 
worth is recognized." 

"Let's take her home wif us, muvver?" chimed in little Ella. 

"The very thing; yes, go with us if you will, and I can show 
you more than I can tell you about my work," said Mrs. Evans 
eagerly. 

"I could — I'd be glad to stop with" you a day or two, if you 
are sure you would like me to, and it will not inconvenience you 
in any way," returned Theo gratefully. She could not bear the 
thought of being alone, and looked a little doubtfully and very 
wistfully into the face of her new found friend, inwardly aston- 
ished at the wonderful progress they had made toward getting 
acquainted. 

CHAPTER VI 

"The idea — why, nothing ever inconveniences me! I'm posi- 
tively sure I shall not be subjected to such distress on your 
account — you little slow-to-comprehend-and-believe. Now, I've 
fallen in love with you on the spot and have thrown formalities 
and other dignities to the winds, and if you don't come with me 
and, — well, I'll be disappointed." 

"Everybody minds my muvver, an' 'ou '11 have to do it too," 
declared Ella, kissing Theo's hand affectionately. 

"I will be delighted, since I am sure that you really wish 
me to." 

"Now that's right. I like your honest confession that you 
at first doubting my sincereity, though!" laughed Mrs. Evans, 



172 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

"And do you feel sufficiently rested to go tonight as I intended? 
If not I will wait until tomorrow," kindly. 

"Oh, not for worlds would I have you change your plans on 
my account. I shall be all right, now that I am no longer alone. 
It's simply awful to have no one to talk with, — no company ex- 
cept ones own thoughts — in a crowd, yet all alone." Theo shud- 
dered, stooping to kiss little Ella. 

Mrs. Evans looked thoughtfully at the beautiful girl, and 
a shade of anxiety crept for a moment over her face. Had she 
been too fast, she wondered? She knew absolutely nothing con- 
cerning this fair sad girl; why was she so ready to believe in 
and trust her? But then, she had learned by experience that 
she could always safely stick to her first impressions — she never 
had been fooled — and little Ella's intuition was simply perfect. 

Theo's thoughts were something of the same, and looking up 
suddenly with Ella's arms twined around her neck, she smiled 
through unshed tears : 

"It is strange, isn't it — the way we have progressed. I 
never knew anything like it before. One would think we were 
old friends." 

"Well, it might be 'strange for some people — but for me — 
my friends would tell you that it is just like me," laughed Mrs. 
Evans "And I have learned that I may safely love and trust 
all who win the confidence of Ella." 

"But it is strange to me, and so refreshing to meet one 
so unaffected, so genuinely kind and sympathetic, so delightfully 
informal. It is one of the sweetest little experiences of my 
life," continued Theo, warmly. 

"I am a true Southerner," returned Mrs. Evans, proudly, 
with a merry twinkle in her eyes and a playful drawing up of 
her shoulders, as if that assertion made any other explanation 
unnecessary. Then earnestly: 

"Kind thoughts, kind words, kind looks, kind acts and warm, 
hand shakes — these are a secondary means of grace when people 
are in trouble and fighting unseen battles, says Dr. John Hall. 
Anyhow, I know they are mighty cheap and I never expect to 
be stingy in that line," and her face glowed with a light that 
was indeed beautiful, and made Theo almost hold her breath 
in awe, while into her heart came a strong inexpressable 
longing — an infinite craving for an infinite stilling, and a con- 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 173 

sciousness of unfathomed soul-depths, restless, vast and broad. 

Mrs. Evans was little above medium height and rather 
inclined to stoutness, but in her neat and inexpensive dark linen 
coat suit which fitted her to perfection, one would have called 
her figure perfect in its graceful outlines. Her eyes were an 
honest blue and sparkled with good humor, her hair almost a 
pure gold, and her fair cheeks glowed with the bloom of good 
health and sweet temper. She seemed altogether at peace with 
herself and all the world and in perfect harmony with life as she 
found it. 

As they were about to board the train for Lynchburg, Theo 
caught sight of a man who had just arrived, and with a smoth- 
ered exclamation of dismay she drew her veil down more 
securely and made almost frantic haste to get inside the train. 
Soon as they were seated, Theo peered cautionsly from the 
window, and was relieved to see Clarence DuBose enter a 
carriage and drive away. He had not seen or recognized her 
she was sure, but oh, what a narrow escape! Why was he 
there? Had he dared to follow her? And her cheeks blazed 
with indignation. For a few moments she was almost overcome 
with a terrible presentment of coming evil, and sank back in 
her seat pale and trembling. She spoke in a low voice to Mrs. 
Evans : 

"Forgive me — I know you think I am acting like a crazy 
thing — but I saw a gentleman out there whose attentions are 
extremely distasteful to me — one who I had hoped never to see 
again. I was a little afraid at first that he had followed me. 
Have you ever met a man whom you did not trust and almost 
loathed when he was out of sight, and yet when in his presence 
felt that he possessed magnetic influence?" 

"No, I don't think I ever have," was the thoughtful reply. 
"But I can tell you one thing — he'd better let you alone while 
you are in my care," and Mrs. Evans looked thoroughly com- 
petent to protect her charge. 

"Am sure I was foolishly alarmed. He is in the insurance 
business and probably had work to do here. He could not 
possibly know that I had left New York," returned Theo, bravely 
trying to banish her fears as the train gave the signal to start, 
and was soon in motion. 

"Now dear, I will take this empty seat just in front of us, 



174 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

and then you can have room to curl up and take a nap. You 
look almost worn out. A nice little snooze will refresh you lots. 
Try it," advised Mrs. Evans, as she changed her seat and placed 
a pillow for Theo, who gratefully accepted it and leaned back 
wearily, closing her eyes. Sleep! ah, could she ever sleep again? 
The air seemed stifling and her heart was heavy and oppressed. 
Oh, how she longed to find some quiet restful spot, where she 
would feel at ease and be content — where she would no longer 
be driven desperate by that restless, unsatisfied and inexpres- 
sable longing for something beyond reach. Was she always 
to have that terrible pain at her heart, she wondered? Was she 
to go her whole life with that awful craving, hungering and 
thirsting for she knew not what? Jack's glove and picture 
still nestled on her heart and the box of carnations was carried 
carefully in her hands, with the little, love note hidden inside. 
She would keep these treasures as sacred memories of the past 
— oh, inconsistency! — the past which she wished to forget. 

At last, utterly exhausted, Theo fell into a troubled sleep 
and was awakened only when Mrs. Evans gently stroked her 
her hair and informed her that the next stop would be Lynch- 
burg. They soon reached the depot and procuring a carriage, 
Mrs. Evans gave her address to the driver, and they went 
spinning through the deserted but beautifully lighted streets of 
the city, soon arriving at a tiny four-roomed cottage which 
seemed to Theo a very doll house. There were rows and rows 
of houses just like this one, and Theo wondered how her friend 
could be sure she had reached the right place. 

A deep silvery toned clock struck the hour of three, as the 
cabman deposited their valises on the tiny porch, and a hurried 
movement inside told them that their presence was known. 

"It is I, mother, open the door," called Mrs. Evans, as she 
gently knocked at the door, carrying the sleeping Ella in her 
arms. 

A sweet-faced, gray-haired old lady, with a night cap on her 
head and wearing a snowy grown, held a lamp above her head 
and cackled merrily as they walked in. She welcomed them 
cordially, holding Theo's hand for a full minute and looking 
earnestly into the pale face and sorrowful eyes. 

''Am so glad to have you with us my dear," said the old lady, 
kissing her and releasing her reluctantly. "But I'm going to 
drive you right off to bed and wait till daytime to get acquainted. 



f'ROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 175 

I do hope you will enjoy yourself with us in our humble home." 
Then to her daughter : "Annie, let me have Ella. I'll undress 
and put her to bed. Poor child — she's plum tuckered out; has 
she been well, Annie?" 

"Dear me, mother, did you ever know that child to be any- 
thing else? I should think she has been well, and she certainly 
has enjoyed the trip. But how is my little man?" walking over 
to a little white cot and bending over a curly headed boy of 
seven. 

"He has been spry as a cricket, but has grieved some for 
you and his little sister. I've been at my wits end to keep him 
amused while not in school," replied the little old lady, merrily. 

"Fse goin' to s'eep wif Miss Feeo," declared Ella, waking up 
and comprehending that she was at home and being put to bed. 

"No, no, little Ella must sleep with grandma — poor grandma 
has been so lonely without her pet," soothed the woman, as Mrs. 
Evans led Theo to the "front" room, dragging her friend's valise 
after her. 

"Now, dear, this is not a Fifth Avenue bed room, but it is 
neat and clean and "comfy," and I hope you will look on it as your 
own while with us." 

Mrs. Evans did not speak apologetically, but in a manner 
which plainly said, "I wouldn't exchange this room for anything 
on Fifth Avenue!" 

In all her life, Theo had never seen anything like this which 
was evidently used for more than a mere bed room. Besides a 
bed, large dresser and washstand, there was a nice organ, a 
wide comfortable sofa, some parlors chairs and comfortably 
cushioned rockers, a center table with lovely drawn-work cover 
and best of all a neat hanging book case filled with standard 
works. Enlarged portraits of friends and relatives and a few 
other good pictures adorned the tastefully papered walls, and a 
nice matting with several pretty rugs covered the floor. There 
were vases of lovely flowers on the mantle, organ and center table, 
and the whole pervaded by such a comfortable, peaceful, quiet 
atmosphere, that Theo drew a deep sigh, again feeling that she 
was lacking in something, again experiencing that hungry long- 
ing for she knew not what, while in the secret depths of her 
heart wailed a vain regret — "Oh, if Jack and I had lived like this, 
we might have been happy!" she exclaimed aloud, in genuine 
admiration and astonishment: 



176 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

"Oh, what a lovely little nest! How tempting that great 
snow white bed looks. How restful everything seems.'' Then 
turning to her friend: 

"How can I ever thank you for your sweet helpful friend- 
ship?" and there were tears in the lovely eyes, making her far 
more beautiful. 

"My dear, Mrs. Gray, if I have been a source of help or 
comfort to you, I am more than repaid. You certainly are not 
enjoying it more than I," smiling into the tear dimmed eyes. "It 
is a real pleasure to me to have you here, and if you can enjoy 
the time you stay with us we will be more than glad. Now, you 
spoke of that 'snow white bed.' I must tell you that the counter- 
pane was woven on an old-fashioned hand loom, by my mother 
when she was a young girl. Examine it at your leisure, and if 
you think it worthy, give mother a word of praise for it, and 
see how pleased she will be. And now I will leave you, hoping 
that you will sleep so sweetly that you won't wake till ten o'clock. 
Good night, and pleasant dreams." 

When Theo opened here eyes that beautiful Friday morn- 
ing, she heard the chirp of birds in the honeysuckles around the 
porch and windows, and a sigh that was half pleasure, half pain 
escaped her lips. Presently the silvery toned clock in the adjoin- 
ing room chimed the hour of ten, and she sprang from the bed 
in amazement. How soundly she had slept, how rested she felt. 
And hungry — my, my ! She wondered what they would give her 
for breakfast, and told herself that she would eat anything they 
had, and try and be content. It wasn't reasonable to suppose 
that these working people fared sumptiousuly, though they did 
look robust and healthy. 

On finding that she was up, little Ella was at last allowed 
access to her room, and was told to bring the lady to breakfast 
when she was ready. 

That breakfast table was another surprise for Theo. The 
cloth was snowy linen with pretty napkins to match and there 
was a lovely centerpiece of drawn work on which was a glass 
bowl of flowers beautifully arranged. The breakfast was just 
an ordinary mill village meal — light bread and breakfast rolls, 
rice, golden butter, ham, eggs on toast, home made preserves and 
jelly, with coffee and rich cream. Everything was on the table 
and ready to eat in true old-fashioned style, and Theo could not 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 177 

restrain an expression of delight as she sat down. Mrs. Brown, 
the old-fashioned mother, asked a blessing, which was a further 
surprise to our heroine, having never heard anything of the kind 
from one of her sex. 

It is needless to say that Theo was not scant in her praises 
of that really wonderful counterpane, or of the breakfast which 
was the best in every respect that she had ever eaten. ' Mrs. 
Brown had already milked the cow, much to Theo's regret, for 
she was anxious to get acquainted with that member of the fam- 
ily and to see that wonderful operation of "extracting" milk, 
something she had read about and heard of, but had never seen. 
She saw the performance that afternoon, and laughingly tried 
to help, though deathly afraid. Mrs. Evans carried her guest to 
several places of interest, but nothing so appealed to Theo as the 
busy hum of the mill machinery, which she declared seemed 
human. She was to leave on Sunday afternoon, and with her 
friend was waiting at the depot for a belated train, when a hand- 
somely dressed and distinguished looking gentleman came toward 
them hat in hand, bowing and smiling: 

"How glad I am :o meet you here, Mrs. Arlington." Theo 
went deathly white and Mrs. Evans knew that this was the ob- 
jectionable suitor, and that Theo was traveling under an 
assumed name. 

CHAPTER VII. 

"Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide 
. In the strife of truth with falsehood for the good or evil side ; 
Some great cause, God's new Messiah offering each the bloom or 
blight, 
Puts the goats upon the left hand, and the sheep upon the 
right. 
And the choice goes by forever, 'twixt that darkness and that 
light." 

Theo gazed as if fascinated, toward the advancing man, and 
her little white hand went out as if unconsciously to meet his 
extended one. With a mighty effort she conquered the faintness 
which was creeping over her, and smiled as she spoke : 

"It is always the unexpected that happens. Who would 
have thought of seeing you away down here?" Mrs. Evans' face 



ITS FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

was a study. The indignant blood surged for a moment over 
her fair face. She felt that she had been cruelly deceived and 
shamefully treated, and drawing herself up proudly, she walked 
with quiet dignity toward the door, leaving Theo without so 
much as a word. 

"Oh, excuse me for a moment, Mr. DuBoise, — you must 
meet my friend." With an almost breaking heart Theo sprang 
after her friend and laid an entreating hand upon her arm, 
whispering beseechingly : 

"Oh, do not forsake me— I have done no wrong — I swear 
it. Help me to outwit and get away from this man for God's 
sake!" Mrs. Evans looked for a moment into the pleading eyes, 
and her tender heart went out in sympathy to her sister in dis- 
tress. "Poor child," she thought, "poor child, she is unfortun- 
ately weak, I fear, and I will not desert her if she needs me. How 
do I know what trials or circumstances have placed her in this 
seemingly false position? I will yield to the better and tender 
promptings of my heart and love and help her if I may." Taking 
Theo's hand and silently pressing it, Mrs. Evans turned back a 
few steps and paused, saying gently : 

"Your friend can come to me if he wishes to meet me." 
Theo smiled gratefully and nodded an invitation to the man 
across the room, and with quick steps he cleared the space be- 
tween and stood before these two beautiful women, his hand- 
some face aglow with genuine admiration. "Mr. DuBoise — my 
friend Mrs. Evans, with whom I am stopping." 

"I am certainly glad to meet any friend of Mrs. Arlington's," 
bowing low and impressively. Then to Theo with an exultant 
ring in his tones : 

"How very fortunate T am. Surely my lucky star must be 
in the ascendency at last." Theo shivered as with cold and turn- 
ing to Mrs. Evans she said meaningly : 

"Do you suppose your friend really will pass through this 
eveninr ? The train is dreadfully late and your mother will be 
uneasy about us will she not?" Mrs. Evans took her cue and 
answered : 

"I am not sure that Inez will be on that train, and if you 
are tired waiting we will go home. It is getting late and mother 
will worry." DuBoise caught his breath uneasily. Was he going 
to lose in the game when he was sure it was won? With his 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 179 

most persuasive manner he turned to Mrs. Evans : "Please 
do not go just yet — so soon after I have had the pleasure of 
meeting you. I have been so lonely since leaving New York, that 
it hurts to part with a friend as soon as I have found one." 

Theo was not in the least, surprised that her friend should 
yield to the personal magnetism of the man, nor that she smil- 
ingly replied: 

"You might call, perhaps, if you care to." Then to Theo: 
"I think we will go now. I hate a place like this on Sunday." 

"Oh, thank you. May I really call?" questioned DuBoise 
eagerly. "What is your address, please?" Mrs. Evans hastily 
wrote her address on the card which he extended, and said: 

"Come when you wish. My home is in the mill village." 

Theo blushed painfully and watched the handsome face for some 
sign of trepidation; but he did not betray with so much as the 
flicker of an eyelid, that he was astonished to learn that the lovely 
Mrs. Arlington had friends among factory people, and could stoop 
to visit them ! He only gallantly returned : 

"Some of the very best people I have" ever known — even some 
of my own best friends, are mill people. When may I have the 
pleasure of calling — this evening about eight o'clock?'' 

"Oh, I suppose so — will that suit you, Mrs. Arlington?" in- 
differently. 

"Yes, I think so," replied Theo icily, wondering what move 
to make next, and astonished beyond measure to find that 
DuBoise could lie so glibly. She was sure he had no friends 
among mill people, and confident that he would be ashamed for 
New York society to know that he contemplated making a call in 
a mill village. How she hated him at that moment! They 
walked out to a carriage, DuBoise following and politely helping 
them- in, then standing with bared head as they were driven 
away, with devilish emotions in his breast. How lucky he had 
been ! Beautiful Theo ! At last he was sure that he might 
address her more boldly than in the past. She had never given 
him the least sign that she had tender thoughts of him, but now, 
she was in trouble; let liis ready sympathy win her confi- 
dence — then all would be easy, he thought. Her husband was a 
brute from whom she could easily get a divorce — then all would 
be plain sailing — he, DuBoise, would marry her, and then, they 
would "live happily ever after," he concluded. 



180 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

For several moments silence reigned in that carriage, each 
dreading to speak the first word, yet longing for the explanation 
that was bound to come. At last Theo could bear it no longer, 
and leaned toward her friend with lips white and drawn, her 
voice hoarse with misery: 

"I do not wonder that you are thinking terrible things of 
me, dear Mrs. Evans, but I do sincerely assure you that I have not 
wilfully done wrong. If you knew all you would say that I am 
more sinned against than sinning. I am so glad I had already 
written you everything before this happened. You will believe 
me when you read the letter I left on the dresser for you. I have 
wronged you though, in that I did not tell you all about myself, 
before accepting your kind hospitality. Put me down at the 
first hotel we pass and tell me good-bye forever. I won't blame 
you — you've been better to me than I deserved, and I shall al- 
ways remember you, and how you made me wish to be a better 
woman — to be like you." Ere she paused Mrs. Evans' arms were 
around her and she knew she was not forsaken. 

"Put you down at a hotel; indeed, I shall do no such thing. 
You are going straight home with me, meet that man bravely 
and dare him to follow you further — if that is what he is doing, 
and I confess it does seem so — but he has the appearance of a 
perfect gentleman, and surely you can stop him if you try. But 
what about your valise? You have a ticket for Chattanooga, 
and your valise has already been checked there?" 

"Put me down at the first hotel, you dearest of all friends. 
I must catch that train if possible. If I fail, I shall go on the 
next. I don't feel worthy to accept your kind hospitality after 
this — after knowing that I have been followed by that scoundrel, 
who is the whole cause of all my troubles." Mrs. Evans tried 
to sooth and advise but all .to no avail. Theo was half wild : 

"Oh, you are so goood to me — but please don't insist — I 
can't go home with you. I simply will not meet that man. You 
don't know him — I do, at least, and I am afraid of him," sobbed 
Theo almost incoherently. 

"My dear, why are you so afraid of him? I don't under- 
stand. Why do you deem it necessary to 'outwit' the man, when 
all that is needed is for you to bravely show your colors, and let 
him know where you stand. He surely would not persecute you 
with his attentions if he knew they were so distasteful. Come 
with me, dear, and defy him if needs be. I will stand by you — 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 181 

I will not forsake you — only be brave and do right — " But Theo 
interrupted with a sharp cry : 

"No, no. I don't want a word with him! My only safety 
is away from him — I must get entirely away. Didn't you feel 
his hypnotic influence, his great personal magnetism? He can 
make one like and confide in him even when their better judgment 
is thundering a mighty warning. I love you and thank you, but 
I dare not come with you." 

"I am sorry now that I gave- him our address — I don't know 
why I did it — but it seemed almost rude not to," glancing back. 
Then : "Oh, I believe he is following us ! Glance through the 
curtains," in alarm. 

"Oh, can it be possible?" cried Theo. "Yes, it is true — he 
feared to risk losing me — he is following us !" terribly frightened. 

"Dear little coward, I wish I could give you some of my 
courage and spunk. I can't understand, but I will help you in 
your own way, if you will not listen to reason. There is a hotel 
just around a corner a few blocks from here. We might drive 
fast and get far enough ahead for you to jump out and dash into 
the hotel before he could turn the corner and see that we had 
stopped. Shall we try?" 

"Yes, oh, yes! Help me a little longer I pray — bless your 
heart!" 

"And will you write to me when you are settled — or before 
— and let me know if you have successfully eluded him?" asked 
Mrs. Evans, gently stroking the trembling fingers with her own 
firm white one. 

"I will, indeed I will ; though when you read the letter on 
the dresser, you may never wish to hear from me," piteouslv. 

"Mrs. Gray — Arlington, I am deeply interested in you and 
shall be more than grieved if you forget to write. God forbid 
that I should set myself up as your judge, or that I should con- 
demn you. I don't know how you have been tried or how you 
have fought your battles with this sinful world. But this I do 
know — we are all sinners in the sight of God, and no one is 
worthy to judge his or her neighbor. I shall not judge you." 
Then she spoke to the driver : 

"Drive fast as you possibly can from here to Hotel," 

and they made a quick dash around the corner, paused for a 
memont in front of the hotel. Theo sprang out and ran hur- 



182 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

riedly inside and the carriage had just dashed away, when the 
one in pursuit turned the corner. 

"Now, drive slowly," commanded Mrs. Evans. And the 
driver pulled his horses down to a tseady walk. 

As Theo sprang from the carriage she had said: "If you 
have it to do, tell him I said I was going to Norfolk. The lie 
will be mine — not yours." 

Mrs. Evans shook her head disapprovingly and sank back 
in her seat almost in tears over Theo's exasperating weakness. 
Yet since seeing and speaking with DuBoise she could under- 
stand how easily an unsuspecting and innocent girl might be 
influenced by him. He was unusually handsome, had a fine figure, 
which showed strength, and above all and through all there 
radiated from his presence a personal magnetism that was cap- 
tivating and fascinating. His hair and eyes were black as mid- 
night, and his face clean shaven. She had never met a more 
attractive man, though since being warned by Theo, felt that he 
he was not a desirable acquaintance. She was only half sorry, 
though, to think that she would soon see him again — would soon 
have the chance to entertain him in her little front room, if he 
^carecl to stop awhile. 

As her carriage turned into the street on which she lived, 
Mrs. Evans was relieved to see that the one following went 
straight on. DuBoise was evidently satisfied that she had not 
tried to mislead him, and would now wait patiently till the hour 
to call. 

It was just eight o'clock. Mrs. Evans had just finished read- 
ing Theo's pitiful confession, half offended because of the en- 
closed money. But old Mrs. Jones soothed her by saying that 
the child meant well, and that they would accept the present in 
the spirit it was given, and be thankful that they had "enter- 
tained an angel unawares," and the old lady put the money away 
"for hard times." Over and over again Mrs. Evans read Thso's 
letter, keeping the contents sacredly to herself. Theo had 
not spared herself, but humbly admitted that she had been silly, 
though not wilfully sinful or a false wife; that if she could live 
the past two years over again, she would be more discreet ; that 
she had unconsciously drifted into a too close intimacy with Du- 
Boise and never dreamed of danger till the night of "the ball." 
That "Jack" had said some terrible things and insulted her be- 
yond pardon ; that Gray was her own middle name, and her 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 1S3 

mother's maiden name ; that she would never again claim the 
name of Arlington, and that she hoped never to see "Jack" 
again, for he despised her. The letter was long and full of soul 
anguish, and ended with a beautiful tribute of love to Mrs. Evans 
and *'the dear little mother" and begged them to not be offended 
because of the enclosed token of her gratitude — that she was well 
able to afford it ,etc. Theo made a clear breast of everything — 
she kept nothing back except that Jack had sent her flowers and 
a penitent note. Why should she lacerate her already bleeding 
heart by that painful recital? — they had come too late and could 
make no difference! She asked that her miserable tale of sor- 
row be kept sacredly secret, and that she might be kindly re- 
membered and not harshly condemned. 

Mrs. Evans had once mingled in high society herself, and 
felt that she knew just how matters stood between Theo and 
r>n "Boise. She understood bow he had gradually and persistent- 
ly sought to win the confidence of the unsuspecting Theo, and 
had made a wreck of her happiness. Oh, it was pitiful — it was 
awful! And such scoundrels were permitted to mingle with the 
best society and allowed entrance into homes wmere there were 
pure and innocent girls. Alas ! alas ! There were tears in her 
beautiful eyes and her heart throbbed painfully as she opened 
the door to DuBoise and allowed him to enter the little "front" 
room.' She still held the letter in her hand, and though her 
greeting was courteous the man felt as if a breeze from Iceland 
had struck him. He glanced around, thinking this a "queer 
parlor," and wondering why Theo was not present. Mrs. Evans 
did not ask him to be seated, and remained standing herself as 
she said: 

"You will not care to be seated, I think, when I tell you 
that my friend has gone," frigidly. 

"Indeed!" in polite surprise. "Where to? Her departure 
was rather sudden was it not?" trying to hide his impatience. 

"Oh, no, she intended all the time to leave me this evening." 

"I don't understand. Why — she knew I was to call — ," he 
stammered. 

"And wished to avoid you," added Mrs. Evans, bowing 
slightly. 

"But why should she wish to avoid one who is her friend?" 

"Oh, I beg pardon — are you really her friend? Then I will 
tell you something. She says she is being hounded by a scroun- 



184 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

drel who has caused her great trouble and whose attentions are 
odious and detestable," looking him squarely in the face, a faint 
smile about her lips. 

"Merciful heavens!" apparently shocked. "What can you 
mean? Mrs. Arlington is a respected and very much admired 
friend of mine and if any one is persecuting her in such a man- 
ner — " Mrs. Evans threw out her hand in fine scorn as she 
interrupted with much spirit : 

"There's no use trying to 'whip the devil around the stump,' 
for I know everything — you are the man ! I know your kind, 
and will be pleased to bid you good-bye." DuBoise recoiled and 
flushed angrily, though he spoke calmly: 

"Madam, I think you forget that you invited me here, and 
that common courtesy demands that you treat a guest kindly. 
I am a gentleman, and have never said one word to Mrs. Arling- 
ton unbecoming — " 

"Oh, no, of course you haven't! Such a course would have 
opened her eyes to her danger. You have employed a crafty, 
subtle cunning, that she might not suspect your designs; now a 
web of damning circumstantial evidence is woven about her and 
the poor victim sees no hope except in flight. You have parted 
that woman and her husband — you have blighted her- young life 
forever. Can you wonder that she despises you, now that she 
understands?" DuBoise grew white with mingled rage and dis- 
appointment, though he spoke calmly : 

"I am surprised to find that you who have such a sweet 
and charitable appearance, should in reality be cruel and heart- 
less. God knows I wouldn't harm a hair on the dear woman's 
head. But if she were free from her fool of a husband, I would 
lay my heart and hand at her feet," he declared boldly. "Will 
you tell me where she has gone? I must find her and straighten 
this horrid tangle. She must not think such terrible things of 
one who is her best friend. Don't you know there is always two 
sides to a question? You have cruelly misjudged me." Mrs. 
Evans' slipper tapped the floor impatiently : 

"She said she was going to Norfolk. But I beg you, for her 
sake, for your own sake, for Heaven's sake, don't follow her! 
She is desperate and might end her life ! If I have wronged or 
misjudged you I am sorry. If you are a gentleman, prove it!" 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 185 

CHAPTER VIII. 

"How little it costs, if we give it a thought, 

To make happy some heart each day. 
Just one kind word or a tender smile 

As we go on our daily way. 
Perchance a look will suffice to clear 

The cloud from a neighbor's face, 
And the press of a hand in sympathy 

A sorrowful tear efface. 

"One walks in sunlight, another goes . 

All wearily in the shade; 
One treads a path that is fair and smooth 

Another must pray for aid. 
It costs so little, I wonder why 

We give it so little thought; 
A smile — kind words — a glance — a touch 

What magic with them is wrought." 

Theo did indeed catch that belated train, and when DuBoise 
was making his call, she was far out on her way to Chattanooga, 
reasonably sure that she had successfully eluded him, yet con- 
sumed by a terrible fear and dread, and oppressed by a sense 
of wrong doing. 

With a sickening feeling of despair she wondered why she 
had "run" from the man like a guilty thing. Why had she not 
followed the advice of good Mrs. Evans, and dared him to follow 
or persecute her with his unwelcome attentions? Why? why? 
It was because she never wanted Jack to hear her name coupled 
with that of DuBoise, and felt that he would know it if she spent 
even a moment in his society. She wondered why it was that she 
had enjoyed the man's society in the past, and now when it was 
too late to make any difference, why she could not endure him. 
She was finding the study of herself aggravatingly complicated. 
She wondered if DuBoise had called on Mrs. Evans, and smiled 
over the thought of the reception she must have given him. She 
understood her impulsive friend well enough to feel sure that the 
man would be made to see himself in a new light, and would 
have given much to know how he appreciated the picture. 



1S6 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

Perhaps Mrs. Evans would induce him to return to New 
York. And what if he should see and tell Jack that she had 
come South? She shuddered as she thought of Jacks' blind, 
jealous rage, and how he would jump to terrible conclusions and 
perhaps strike DuBoise dead at his feet. But no, DuBoise would 
never try to bring about a reconciliation — she knew that. He 
would be more likely to do everything in his power to avert it — 
if a reconciliation were possible, which it wasn't, as the memory 
of that last bitter quarrel rose before her mental vision. Her 
plea for love and trust had been met with cruel and bitter denun- 
ciations; insult had been added to injury — all was over forever 
between her and Jack. Then sweet charity whispered: 

"He repented — remember that note, and those flowers. His 
love for you and your own actions, made him unreasonable. 

In a crowd, yet all alone. Theo wrapped herself in such a 
mantle of dignity and reserve during her trip South, that no one 
ventured to address a word to her. Busy with her own miser- 
able thoughts and wild conjectures, she paid no heed to those 
around her, and as night shut from sight the beautiful scenery 
through which she was passing, there was nothing to arrest her 
thoughts and turn them into more pleasant channels. 

As she neared Morristown, and heard the porter call out, 
"Morristown, next station: change cars for Asheville, Spartan- 
burg and Columbia." she wished she had her valise and could 
make the change. She had often wished to see Asheville and 
Biltmore, and had longed to visit Hot Springs. Well, perhaps, 
she would later on. Anyway, she intended going tot Columbia 
before she stopped, even if she was "going all around the elbow 
to get to the thumb," as a glance at a little railroad map and time 
table told her she was doing. 

On arriving at Chattanooga, she went to one of the best 
hotels, registered as Mrs. Dosia Gray, New York. She noticed 
that several other guests were registered from New York, but 
none whom she knew. She thought that if DuBoise should fol- 
low and examine the book, he would not recognize her name, as 
he did not know that she was traveling incognito. But this did 
not keep her from using every precaution, and she had her meals. 
dinner, supper and breakfast, served in her room. She would 
not even go to the ladies' parlor, but asked a servant to bring 
her something to read. 

"What kind of reading do you like, Miss?" respectfully. 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 1S7 

"Oh, anything to pass off time. Bring some books and 
magazines — the first thing you come to — it doesn't matter," 
wearily. And the servant seeing that she was in trouble, sought 
to bring something to comfort and cheer her, and placed in her 
hands one of the greatest books published, "Apples of Gold in 
Pictures of Silver." He also brought several nice magazines. 

Theo — or Dosia — we must now call her, glanced at the book 
impatiently. She saw that it was "religious," and was sure it was 
as dry and uninteresting as the few sermons she had heard in 
the past. But as she turned the leaves and saw poetry, she 
paused, to read : 

"How long we live, not years, but actions tell ; 

The man lives twice who lives the first life well; 
Make, then, while yet ye may, your God your friend, 

Whom Christians worship, yet not comprehend. 
The trust that's given, guard; and to yourself be just: 

For live we how we can, yet die we must." 

It is impossible to describe the wretched girl's emotion as 
she re-read these lines which impressed her with a solmenity 
never before felt in all her careless, selfish life. Like Felix of 
old she trembled. Must she really die? — and away from home 
and friends? And after death — what then? Could it really be 
true that there was an eternity? With trembling fingers she 
turned the leaves and — was it fate which led her' to this? 

"Eternity! Where? it floats in the air; 
Amid clamor or silence, it ever is there, 
The question so solemn: Eternity! — where?" 

"Eternity! Where? oh, Eternity! Where? 

With redeemed ones in glory or friends in despair? 
With one or the other: Eternity! Where? 

"Eternity! Where? oh, Eternity! Where?. 

Friend, sleep not, nor take in this world any share, 
'Till you answer this question : Eternity ! Where ? 

She rose from her chair and tottered to the bed, falling on 
her face and cyring: "Oh God, if there be a God, take this bur- 



18? FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOH 

den from my heart and soul or I shall die." It was not the 
prayer of a penitent, truly sorry for sin, but the frightened cry 
of one who was afraid to die. Not a prayer to be cleansed from 
the guilt of sin, but to be spared the punishment. For some time 
the poor misguided girl lay across the bed sobbing as if her 
heart would break, but at last her strong will asserted itself, and 
she resolutely dried her eyes, bathed her face and picked up one 
of the magazines. Again, as was her habit, she looked for the 
bits of poetry: 

"Has your heart a bitter sorrow? 

Live it down. 
Think about a glad tomorrow, 

And live it down. 
You will find it never pays, ' 
Just to sit wet eyed and gaze 
On the grave of vanished days — 

Live it down." 

"Now, that's better — I like that — but there's no 'glad tomor- 
row' for me. Strange that everything I happen to read is a 
pointed sermon seemingly written on purpose for me! I can't 
understand it all," petulantly. 

Tuesday she went to Atlanta, spending the night there, and 
Wednesday evening found her in Columbia, S. C. As she stepped 
from the train and went with the thronging mass of humanity 
into the waiting room, somehow she felt that this would be a 
good place to stop for awhile. 

Standing on the wide, extensive platform in front of the 
depot, and looking across the railroad, she saw several large 
cotton mills and pretty villages. Surely, that would be a safe 
retreat. No one would think of looking for her in a mill village. 
She smiled over the thought that she, a society favorite, should 
be compelled to ask help from ignorant factory people! She 
was absolutely sure she would never see another mill woman 
who could be compared favorably with Mrs. Evans. If there 
were any more of her type, they were few and far between. But 
then, she would not be compelled to stay among them for long; 
she would find other work pretty soon ; there were lots of things 
she could learn, she thought. Ah, if the world was only full of 
Mrs. Evanses! Why wasn't everyone good, kind and helpful? 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 189 

Why had she never before realized the power of kindness ? Had 
she ever in her life, tried to lift the burden from a fellow mortal? 
No, she had been too busy seeking- pleasures. She had never 
until now, realized the power of little things that cost nothing — 
kind looks, kind words, kind acts and warm handshakes — worth 
more than gold. Our heroine heaved a sigh from the depths of 
her lonely heart, and tears glistened in her deep dark eyes, as 
she tried to concentrate her thoughts in one direction. What 
should she do next? Where should she go? 

Captain Farrell, the grand old gentleman, who was police 
and "train caller," was always on the alert watching for the 
friendless and lonely that he might offer his services. 

Hundreds of strangers, lone women and children traveling 
without an escort or companion, can testify how this good man 
has relieved their worry and anxiety, by "seeing after" them 
with such tender and thoughtful solicitude. 

He passed and re-passed Dosia as she stood on the plat- 
form, as far removed from anyone as possible, and looking so 
utterly miserable and forlorn. His kind face beamed with hearty 
good will and there was just a suggestion of an interrogation in 
his eye. He noticed that she was alone, travel stained and weary ; 
that she was young, beautiful and in trouble. Her deep black 
dress, sad face and pathetic brown eyes touched the sympathetic 
chord in Capt. Farrell's bosom that never failed to respond to 
the distressed. At last he paused near her and lifted his blue cap 
deferentially, speaking in a kind fatherly way: 

"You seem to be alone, Miss. Is there anything I can do 
for you — any information I can give? If so, please command me. 
It is my business to see after those who are alone or in need of my 
services in any way, and I assure you it will also give me pleas- 
ure if I can help you in anything, or serve you in any way." 

Dosia raised her eyes in glad surprise. How sweet it was 
to be spoken to so kindly where every one was a stranger and 
such a thing not expected. As she looked into the kind and hon- 
est face she felt instinctively that she might trust him. And oh, 
how she longed for and needed a friend and friendly council. 

"Thank you, — I am a stranger in a strange place, — and 
alone. If you can spare the time I should like to ask your advice 
and help in a certain matter — I mean I should like to have you 
tell me how to proceed — " The old man tactfully interrupted. 

"Are you in a hurry? No! Well you just wait till I call out 



190 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

the next train which is due pretty soon, and then I shall be at 
leisure for awhile and 'we can talk it over. Of course, I'll help 
you. Now, don't worry, but go into the ladies' private waiting 
room where you will find it more pleasant. There are lounges 
and rockers in there for the tired, a nice toilet room with f uN 
length mirrors for the proud," his eyes twinkling, "and I am 
sure you can rest better in there." 

"Thank you, so much. But where is the private room," 
smiling. 

"Come, and I will show you." 

As they started back into the waiting room, Dosia cast one 
more lingering look toward the mill village and said: "I think 
I would like work over there, if I could get it." 

Capt. Farrell did not look surprised. He knew lots of ladies 
with just as pretty hands, who were just as beautifully man- 
nered and just as refined as this young girl, who worked in 
mills, making good wages and saving money. 

"Bless your life, there will be no trouble about getting em- 
ployment," he returned briskly, "and I can certainly help you to 
find the most desirable place. But you go in here now and rest 
till I send for you," motioning to a closed door. Dosia paused, 
thanked him prettily and asked : 

"But you have so much to see after — won't you forget me?" 

"Could anyone do that who had once seen you?" returned: 
the old. Captain, gallantly, and Dosia entered the private wait- 
ing room, feeling secure under the protection of this genuinely 
good man. 

CHAPTER IX. 

The idle man never can bring to the mart 
"The countless gold of a merry heart, 
The rubies and pearls of a loving eye — 
Nor the cunning hoard up in his treasury." 

Some ladies from the mill village across the way came in 
after awhile and took seats in the general waiting room, look- 
ing around expectantly. 

One was tall, fair and graceful, and her sweet face was lighted 
by a pair of great , soulful blue eyes, soft, tender and spiritual, 
making her look more divine than human. No "rat" had ever 
made a nest 'neath the silken waves of her luxuriant light 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 191 

brown hair, which was arranged becomingly and coiled artisti- 
cally at the back of her small shapely head. Her dress was a 
snow white linen with hand embroidered collar, cuffs and belt, 
and her hat a chic little sailor of fine quality, trimmed with a 
simple band and pretty buckle. More than one admiring glance 
was directed toward her as she sat quietly and with unconscious 
dignity, chatting in soft musical tones to her younger sister who 
looked like a brown-eyed fairy bent on mischief. 

"A pure white lilly — if I am any judge of character," said 
the Rev. Phillip Harris to his friend Horace Stanford, not know- 
ing that her name was Lilly — Lilly Bruner. Horace Stanford 
smiled at the low earnest voice of the speaker, and replied : 

"She does look so, certainly; but I happen to know that she 
is a factory girl — and 'can anything good come out of Nazareth?" 

The Reverend Harris turned to the flippant speaker, and 
looked for a moment earnestly and yearningly into the hand- 
some dissipated face : 

"And yet, oh, Horace, you will agree, will you not, that 
something good — divinely good — did come out of Nazareth?" 

"Oh, yes, I'll agree, just to keep you from arguing the case 
or preaching me a sermon," laughingly, and shrugging his shoul- 
ders a bit uneasily. Then continuing: "But your 'white lilly's 
companion takes my eye. What a trim, dainty little darling she 
is. She wouldn't weigh over a hundred pounds I'm sure — just 
a good armful. Just look at those beautiful, tender, twinkling 
long-lashed brown eyes, will you? And those sweet rose-bud 
lips were surely made to be kissed. Note the dimples in her 
pretty cheeks and see how saucily she shakes back those rebel- 
lious chestnut curls. Isn't she a daisy? — no she looks more like 
a pansy with that blue dress — and Tansies for thoughts.' She's 
my Pansy." A pained expression crept over the preacher's face 
and he spoke impatiently: 

"For shame, Horace! How can you discuss a young girl in 
such fashion? I am painfully surprised at you." 

"Pshaw! Phil, I only frankly expressed a few thoughts ex- 
actly like some that are hidden beneath that clerical coat of yours. 
What's the difference in 'Out of the abundance of the heart the 
mouth speaketh,' and 'As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he?' — 
two of your favorite texts. But here comes our car — let's catch 
it. Mother has been looking for us some time, and is all im- 
patience to see her ideal of manly perfection, the Rev. Phil. 



192 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

Harris. Blessed if I don't believe she loves you more than she 
does me," half seriously, as they passed out of the waiting room. 

The young preacher glanced back longingly for a last look at 
the girl in white, while Horace Stanford secretly determined to 
manage some way, to meet the girl in blue. He was sure she 
would be refreshingly sweet, and a delightful change, and would 
give him a "nice time." 

Lilly and Hazel Bruner had now been joined by a bright 
manly boy of about fifteen, who was the very image of Hazel; 
it was easy to see that they were brother and sisters, and that he 
and Hazel were also chums. 

Presently Captain Farrell came an and after shaking hands 
all around and asking after their mother said: 

"Well, girls, you certainly lost no time in getting over. I 
expect, though, that Hazel is looking for a blue uniformed 
soldier, judging from her bright expectant eyes," teasingly. 
"But my 'Yankee' happens to be dressed in black and is a 
woman." 

"You old fraud!" exclaimed Hazel. "Don't you dare call me 
over the 'phone again, or I'll prosecute you for 'mental anguish'." 
The Captain laughed and continued: 

"And she wants to get work over your way. Somehow I 
am deeply interested in her, and if I can enlist your sympathies, 
shall feel perfectly satisfied, knowing that she will be in good 
hands." 

"Who is she? Where is she? Old or young? Married or 
single?" These and similar questions were hurled eagerly at 
the Captain by Hazel and Tom, while Lilly waited patiently, 
smiling indulgently over their impetuosity. When she could get 
in a word she quietly said : . 

"Bring her to us, Captain. We are all impatience, you see. 
And you know so well that we shall be pleased to open our doors 
and our hearts to any one whom you recommend." 

"But I can't exactly recommend her, as I have never seen 
her before. I do not believe she is a working woman. She looks 
extremely sad, and it may be that some reverse of fortune now 
compells her to work. When you have seen her I think you, too, 
will be interested." 

"Well, whether you can recommend her or not, if she is 
alone and without friends in the city, that is sufficient. I only 
hope she is not proud and high minded, and that she will like 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 193 

us for ourselves. We are prepared to love her, if she will let us." 

"Thank you, Lilly, and bless you. You are not one of the 
King's Daughters' for nothing ; you are true to your colors." The 
big fat good-natured colored woman who had charge of the pri- 
vate waiting room was now passing through, and the Captain 
stopped her: 

"Aunt DinaTi, tell Mrs. Gray — the sad lady in black — that I 
am ready for her," he said. 

"Yes, sir; all right, sir," bobbing up and down in an old- 
fashioned courtesy, and rolling her eyes comically, she dis- 
appeared behind the door that no man dared to enter. Presently 
she returned lugging a big valise and followed by our lovely 
heroine, who had removed the travel stains, carefully re-arranged 
her abundant hair and looked very much refreshecf. 

Hazel's big eyes opened wide and Tom gave an involuntary 
exclamation as the graceful figure came forward, looking neither 
to the right nor left, apparently oblivious or indifferent to her 
surroundings, her great pathetic brown eyes raised trustfully to 
Captain Farrell as he hastened forward to meet her saying in 
low tones : 

"I have found some delightful friends for you — the very 
best girls I know, I believe — and they are mill girls. I hope you 
will like them and I am sure you will." 

"Geewhiz ! There go your laurels Hazel. She'll take the cake 
in every voting contest, and be crowned Queen of Love and 
Beauty every clip," declared Tom in a low voice to his sister. 
Hazel gave him a warning nudge with her elbow and whispered 
back : 

"My! Isn't she too perfectly lovely for any thing?" showing 
that she was not at all jealous or envious. 

As a rule, the best class of mill people have the happy 
faculty of making one feel at ease, and Dosia's lonely heart went 
out to these sweet unaffected girls as they greeted her so cordially 
and welcomed her heartily and sincerely. Lilly's warm, firm 
hand clasp and the light in her blue eyes as she said sweetly : 

"I am so glad to meet and welcome you, Mrs. Gray, and hope 
you will be so delighted with our part of the city, that you will 
decide to cast your lot with us," was enough to win a heart that 
was not already thirsting for love and friendship. Hazel — im- 
pulsive, passionate and loving — caring nothing for "cold pro- 
prieties" and "freezing dignities," kissed her affectionately as 



194 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

if she had been a dear friend and exclaimed : 

"Bless your dear heart, I hope you will love me a little," 
hardly conscious of what she was doing or saying. 

''Me too," stammered Tom bashfully as he was presented, 
and then they all laughed heartily at his expense. 

"I'm sure it will be a delightfully easy task," smiled Dosia, 
speaking to both Hazel and Tom, her face beaming with grati- 
tude, through a trace of sadness still lurking in the deep dark 
eyes. Captain Farrell then spoke to her: 

"It was certainly a ruling of Providence that these dear 
girls should be resting today and that I should know about it." 

"Bless your life, Mrs. Gray, he knows absolutely every- 
thing," declared Hazel in a desparing stage whisper. 

"We went shopping this afternoon and he saw us," ex- 
plained Lilly smilingly, and shaking her head reprovingly at 
Hazel. 

"And he had you to stop for me?" inquired Dosia, looking 
from one to the other. 

"No — we had been at home some little time," said Lilly. 
"He 'phoned to us to come and capture a Yankee," declared the 
irrepressible Hazel, with a grimace. 

"Well, you have certainly done so," returned. Dosia softly, 
wondering how the man knew she was a Yankee. 

"And you will go with us?" asked Lilly eagerly. 

"Gladly, if I may," replied Dosia, whereupon Master Tom 
hurriedly gathered up her valise and started for the car line, as 
if afraid she would change her mind. Our heroine turned to 
Capt. Farrell, and with tear dimmed eyes thanked him from the 
depths of a grateful heart for his matchless kindness, and added : 

"Experience has taught me many things during the past 
few days, but I think that the most valuable lesson I have 
learned, is the power of genuine kindness." 

"Why, child, it has been a great pleasure — the little I have 
done for you, and if at any time I can serve you further, come to 
me as r I were your own father." As he walked out to the car 
line with the three beautiful girls, nearly every eye followed 
them admiringly. 

A week later, Dosia wrote the following letter, which will 
explain how she was getting along: 
"Dear Mrs. Evans : 

"According to your request and my promise and believing 



"from ball room TO WEAVE ROOM 195 

that you really wish to hear from me, I am giving myself the 
pleasure of writing to you. I am in Columbia, S. C, and actually 

learning to weave! Yes; learning to weave in the Cotton 

Mills. But first, let me assure you that I have seen no more of 
Mr. DuBoise and hope I never shall. If you have forgiven my 
deception, and weakness, please let me know how you managed 
him. 

"Have often wished that I had taken your advise instead 
of running like a coward. But it has always been my misfortune 
that regrets come too late to make amends. I am trying to face 
the inevitable — trying hard to forget the past and make the best 
of things as they come. But oh, there's a bitter pain and hope- 
less longing in my heart that causes me many wakeful hours and 
tear-wet pillows. 

"I am boarding with the widow Bruner, one of the most 
lovable old ladies imaginable, who treats me as kindly as if I 
were her own daughter. She has two girls. Lilly, aged twenty, 
and Hazel, seventeen ; also a son, Tom, about fifteen. 

"I never saw a happier family, though I am sure two sisters 
were never more unlike than Lilly and Hazel. Tom is the very 
imp of mischief, and with the ever ready help of Hazel, keeps 
things lively. 

"Lilly is like you without your impulsiveness, (which is 
your chief charm — your greatest charm) and I can't imagine her 
calm serenity being disturbed under the most trying circum- 
stances. Here are a few samples of her sayings : 

" 'Every chastisement is gracious ; it is sent that you may be 
a partaker of God's holiness.' 'Nothing takes place by chance; 
there is a design worthy of a God in every operation or permis- 
sion.' 'Who sends this trouble? My good and gracious God; 
let this silence every murmur.' I never heard of such a girl. 
She sees the hand of God in everything, and is so good and 
saintly that I am half afraid of her, though I love and admire 
her. 

"Hazel is every whit human, and is just a darling. Oh, all 
Southern people have warm hearts and I love all I have met. I 
am fast turning rebel myself, and am delighted with this beau- 
tiful Southland. And our neighbors — why, this whole mill vil- 
lage seems one big family, and I think there are comparatively 
few 'black sheep' in the flock. I am so glad that my lucky star 
led me to you, and introduced me into this simple, honest mode 



196 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

of living. I have tried my very best to see where our Northern 
writers get their sensational stuff concerning these people, and 
have decided it must be hatched from an imaginative and preju- 
diced brain. 

"Everything is nice and cosy here. Mrs. Bruner's front 
yard is all abloom with pretty flowers tastefully and artistically 
grouped and bedded, and the back yard is aflame with georgeous 
hollyhocks and sunflowers, and the same sweet homey, 'comfy' 
atmosphere that pervaded your home has settled around this. 

"Now about my — work — (That sounds so funny) I have 
had to 'get out' after two days in the mill! My hands were 
terribly swollen this morning, and I can't begin to express how 
my feet ached last night. Mrs. Bruner says my slippers are too 
high-heeled and that it will ruin my health to stand in such 
things. And what do you think? She went shopping early this 
morning, and actually bought and presented me with a pair of 
broad, flat, funny looking low-heeled slippers, a number too 
large ! I never before had a present that I appreciated more, be- 
cause I knew the motive back of it. Oh, she's a dear. I put the 
slippers right on — I have them on now, — also one of that dear 
little woman's wrappers which she insisted would be so much 
more comfortable 'to loll around in,' and if it were not for the 
eternal ache in my heart, I could scream with laughter to think 
how shocked New York society would be to see me. Mrs. 
Bruner says it's a matter of health as well as comfort, so while 
I am 'in Rome I shall do as Rome does.' 

"Hazel is teaching me to weave, and says I am learning 
unusually fast. She told the overseer that I would be ready for 
a set of looms next week, and it frightened me so that I felt my 
hair rising. 

"Now, dear, please don't scold me for anything when you 
write — if you really do write. I haven't felt called upon to air 
my troubles to these good people, who fully believe me to be what 
I seem, a widow in reality, and in need of work. I have spent 
fifty dollars for a trunk and some necessary clothing, and paid 
my board a month in advance, and no one suspects that I have 
anything left. I'm sure it would be safe to keep it here, but I 
guess I'll put it in the bank as soon as I can. 

"Give my love to your dear mother and kiss those sweet 
children for me. If you will favor me with an answer to this I 
shall indeed be grateful, and if you care to know how I am, I 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 197 

shall be delighted to write you often as you like. Anxiously and 
hopefully awaiting a reply, I am your sincere and grateful 
friend, THEODOSIA." 

CHAPTER X 

"Into life's bitter cup true friendships drops 
Balsamic sweets to overpower the gall — 
True friends, like ivy and the wall it props 
Both stand together or together fall." 

Dosia returned to her work next day and stuck to it bravely, 
finding that to keep busy was the best antidote for a burdened 
and aching heart. She received an immediate answer from Mrs. 
Evans, written in that good woman's own peculiarly fascinating 
and inimitable style: 

"Mrs. Dosia Gray: , 

"You dear little cowardly, hum-buggy 'widow !' you have no 
idea — neither can I pump it into your provoking little head — 
how very glad I was to hear from you, and so favorably. If I 
could have gotten hold of you soon as I had digested the con- 
tents of the letter you left on the dresser, — well — to say the 
least, I would have choked you, you precious innocent. But 
mother says we will accept your present in the same sweet spirit 
in which you gave it, and be thankful — but I can't help wishing 
you hadn't done that; — forgive my independence. 

"I am so glad you are with such a desirable family. I truly 
believe the Lord has given 'His angels charge concerning thee,' 
and that you will not get seriously bumped and bruised as Fate 
hurls you around over rough places ; that all things will yet be 
satisfactorily explained and your domestic machinery readjusted 
so perfectly that it will run smoothly as my looms and never 
have another 'breakout.' And dear, when that time comes, do 
let me know, so that I can have the satisfaction of calling to you 
across space and yelling, 'I told you so !' 

"Now about DuBoise. I had just finished reading your 
touching letter when he arrived, and was in just the right mood 
to hurl the fact of your ignomnious flight at his defenseless head, 
tragically declaring that you had fled from a scoundrel who was 
pursuing you with unwelcome attentions. My! you ought to 
have seen how shocked he was and heard how he longed to punch 



198 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

the head of the villain. How he longed to fly to your presence, 
declaring that no one, should persecute a lady friend of his in 
such a fashion and go unpunished. 

"Oh, we had quite a little spat I assure you. I cut, slashed 
and stabbed in a round-about way, while he dodged this way and 
that, behind a shield of assumed innocence. Finally when I 
could restrain myself no longer, I pointed my index finger at him 
accusingly and exploded the bomb, 'Thou art the man!' 

"At first he was terribly angry and grew at least three 
inches taller, as he glared at me with righteous indignation. I 
glared back with ten per cent, interest, till his eyes dropped in 
confusion, then tried to finish him by storming: 'If you are a 
gentleman, prove it!' which he at once tried to do by word of 
mouth, and almost made me believe black was white, so per- 
suasive was his eloquence. Dear, that man is a wonder! He 
ought to be added to 'the seven wonders of the world.' 

"Well, I withstood his eloquence and was firm (outwardly) 
as the 'Rock of Gibralter,' (whatever that may be) and at last 
succeeded in making him understand that actions, not words, 
were the only acceptable proofs — the only recognized fruits of 
repentence. He at last promised faithfully to return to New 
York and leave you unmolested, though he declared he only 
wanted to see you and try and straighten out things and offer 
you his pure and true friendship. He said he would try in the 
future to atone for the past. I assured him that I would hear 
from you, and that I would tell you about how he felt. I asked 
him if he thought he could manage to bring about a reconcila- 
tion between you and your husband and he answered that he 
should not interfere in any way whatever; that your husband 
was a jealous brute and made your life miserable, and that you 
would be happied anywhere under any circumstances than with 
your husband. He declared that no one should know from him 
that he had seen you. 

"I was faithless enough to believe that he would still try to 
find you, but I received a letter from him yesterday postmarked 
New York, so of course he is there. The letter is just such a 
one as this 'ladykiller' would be supposed to write, beautifully 
worded and eloquent, and a touching tribute to my true friend- 
ship for you, and to other characteristics which he seems to 
think I possess, and declaring himself to be unworthy the least 
thought of such a pure Christian woman,' yet pleading to be 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 199 

kindly remembered as one who earnestly longed to reach and live 
up to my high standard! After thoroughly digesting the sweet 
morsel, I went to mother and asked her to examine my shoulder 
blades and see if I had sprouted wings ! 

"No, clear, I shall never scold you for anything. I love you 
too well : and besides, I am satisfied that my prayers for your 
future welfare, will be answered in God's own good time. I am 
delighted to know that you actually appreciate our Southern mill 
people, and hope you will some day feel inspired to write and 
publish your impressions. So many Northerners have slandered 
us, that should one take up the cudgel (pen) in our defense, I'd 
wave my old bonnet till the strings pulled off, and yell 'Hurrah !' 
till I became hoarse. Whatever else you do or leave undone, 
keep a diary. You will find it useful as well as interesting in 
the future. 

"Mother and the children join in sending love and kisses to 
you. And of course I wish to hear from you — you little goose! 
Write as often as you can, at least once a week, and always ex- 
pect an immediate answer, from your true and loving friend, 

"ANNIE EVANS." 

Time slipped rapidly away, and Dosia was soon running 
six looms, with Hazel for a side weaver, thanks to a kind and 
obliging overseer, and working as if her life depended on it. 
She had won the' respect and admiration of all and the love of 
many. 

Mrs. Brunei* and Lilly were grieved to learn that she was 
not a Christian ; but she never pained them by speaking lightly 
or skeptically about religion, but could seldom be induced to 
accompany them to church. They felt instinctively that the 
young widow had gone through some severe trial besides losing 
her husband — some sorrow that had shadowed and embittered 
her whole life, and they pitied instead of condemning her, 
praying often in secret for the salvation of her soul. 

Day by day the sad brown eyes took on a more wistful 
expression and occasionally her sweet face became deathly pale, 
while a look of terror and dread would sweep over her counte- 
nance. Mrs. Brunei* watched her with all a mother's tender 
solicitude, longing to have the poor girl's confidence, but Dosia's 
reserve when questioned about herself, held the good woman 
aloof. 

Mrs. Evans' letters were a great comfort and consolation 



200 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

and she found much pleasure in keeping a faithful diary — 
a flood gate through which she often gave expression to the 
pain and anguish pent up in her soul. The 'eternal ache' in 
her heart seemed to grow, in spite of her brave efforts to be 
resigned to her lot — the hell which she began to realize she 
had made for herself, though she would have died ten thou- 
sand deaths before she would have asked Jack to forgive her. 

The box of withered carnations and the precious love let- 
ter were tenderly handled and caressed every night, and Jack's 
glove and picture often nestled on her heart or lay against her 
cheek on a pillow wet with tears. She often went shopping on 
Saturday afternoons with Lilly and Hazel, always stopping 
for a word with good old Captain Farrell, if she passed the 
depot at a time when he was not busy. 

The Rev. Philip Harris had held a protracted meeting in 
the Baptist church on the mill village and was a frequent visitor 
at Mrs. Bruner's, where a tall, stately girl with serious blue 
eyes welcomed him with blushing cheeks. Horace Stanford, 
too, had tactfully managed to get an introduction to Hazel, and 
was paying her very marked attentions, causing Mrs. Bruner 
some little uneasiness, though she had perfect confidence in 
her saucy young daughter's ability to fight her own battles. 
The preacher also, being thoroughly acquainted with the young 
man's character, had remonstrated with him and seriously 
threatened to unmask him, if he showed the least inclination 
to flirt with the innocent girl. 

It was seldom that Dosia could be induced to stay in the 
parlor for half an hour when the girls had company, but occa- 
sionally they succeeded in getting her to play the organ and 
sing, and at such times she was always complimented in the 
highest terms — by profound and breathless silence, tearful 
eyes and tremulous lips. She was an accomplished musician 
and trouble had given her voice a touching pathos that none 
could withstand. 

One night late in September, the Rev. Mr. Harriss and 
Lillie were seated on the porch just outside the parlor window, 
while Hazel and Dosia were practicing some new music. Sud- 
denly Hazel threw the new music aside and commenced to play 
and sing the sad old song that Dosia had sung for Jack that 
miserable morning: 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM. 201 

"I'm longing so sadly I'm longing 

For the flowers that have blossomed and fled — 
For the hopes that around me were thronging — 

But alas! all are withered and dead. 
Beauties I thought ne'er would perish 

One by one vanish away. 
There's nothing on earth that we cherish 

That's lovely and true that will stay. 
Flitting, flitting away — 

All that we cherish most dear 
There's nothing on earth that will stay — 

The roses must die with the year." 
She sang no further for Dosia cried out in pain: 

"Oh, Hazel, not that, not that! I can't bear it!" and her 
face was quivering with anguish and her hands pressed con- 
vulsively to her heart. Hazel was deeply penitent and won- 
dered why she had been so thoughtless in the presence of one 
so recently and sadly bereaved. 

The preacher and Lillie had heard and seen it all through 
the open window. He had been studying our heroine for two 
months, and with his keen perception and intuition had con- 
cluded that she was in deep trouble and stumbling along in the 
dark blindly for comfort and help, but seeking it in the wrong 
direction. 

He and Lilly were both deeply interested in the sweet- 
faced sad-eyed little widow, and tried in gentle tactful ways 
to lead her to the light. Just now the preacher had an in- 
spiration, and taking Lilly's hand whispered it to her. Then 
with a silent prayer to God, asking His help and blessing, the 
preacher waited a few moments till Dosia had regained her 
self control then called to her through the open window, and 
asked her if she would sing and play "Abide With Me," de- 
claring it to be his favorite and the sweetest song he had ever 
heard. 

She seated herself at the organ and turned to the grand 
old hymn and sang: 

"Abide with me! Fast falls the eventide, 

The darkness deepens — Lord with me abide! 
When other helpers fail and comforts flee, 
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me!" 



202 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

The sweet lips trembled, the dark eyes fifilled with tears 
and the voice broke in a pitiful, prayerful wail of entreaty — 
"Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me!" Hazel sobbed out- 
right "Oh, what beautiful words!" exclaimed Dosia, "you 
and Lilly sing — I'll play for you, please, please, Mr. Harriss," 
eagerly, and the minister stepped through the 1ow t window 
with Lilly at his side and together they sang the remainder of 
the beautiful song. When it was finished Dosia rose hurriedly 
and went to the open window and gazed at the twinkling stars. 
Hazel fled from the room. Lilly looked wistfully after her 
sister and softly began to sing: 

"What a friend we have in Jesus." The minister joined 
in with his rich baritone and Mrs. Bruner in the next room, 
thought it the sweetest and most heavenly music she had ever 
heard. Dosia almost held her breath, so eager was she to catch 
every word. Soon after the song was finished, she came from 
the window and gave each of these friends a cold, trembling 
hand, saying brokenly: 

"I understand, and thank you. I do want to be a Christian 
— I want the Lord to abide with me — I want Jesus to be my 
friend; pray for me. And she went swiftly from the room 
with the preacher's "Thank God! God bless you my sister," 
ringing in her ears. 

On going upstairs to her room, she found Hazel crouched 
on the top landing, shaking with emotion. Silently she seated 
herself by the young girl and placed a sympathetic arm around 
her. Presently Hazel broke out impatiently: 

"Whatever is the matter with us? I've heard those old 
songs time and again without being touched, but tonight I feel 
miserable — just as if I had no friend on earth or in heaven!" 
in a little jerky voice. 

"Oh, Hazel think! you have the dearest little mother, a 
sweet and loving sister and brother. I have no one — no one to 
love me or care what becomes of me; I am indeed alone, — all 
alone!" brokenly. 

"My dear child, how can you say that?" asked Mrs. 
Bruner as she came out of Tom's room and seated herself by 
them. "We all love you dearly — my heart goes out to you as 
to my own girls — I care, we all care, oh, Dosia!" in a hurt tone. 
Dosia was deeply touched and laid her little hand on the brown, 
hardened one : 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 203 

"Dear Mrs. Brunei*, forgive me if I have seemed ungrate- 
ful; you have indeed been a mother to me, but tonight I am 
so miserable that even you cannot comfort me." 

"'You poor child! I have known for some time that you 
were in trouble and needed a mother's loving counsel; confide 
in me, dear, and let me help you. Trust me." 

"I have never told you anything about myself, only that 
I came from New York and had lost my husband the past May. 
Yet you have been content to ask no questions and have trusted 
and loved me. I ought to tell you more, but I cannot — and it 
will be best for me to get lodgings some where else very soon," 
bravely but tearfully. How could she bear to leave these good 
friends? Oh, it was hard, she thought, yet, she must not stay. 

"Oh, you shall not go!" cried Hazel, "what have we done 
to you? Mama, don't let her leave us." Mrs. Brunei* hesi- 
tated, then whispered in Dosia's ear: 

"You silly child, do you think I do not know? You need 
never tell me a word you wish to keep secret — we love you for 
what you are — for your own self. You must stay with us, 
child. I will be a mother to you in the coming trial." Dosia 
threw her arms around the good woman's neck and sobbed : 

"Oh, do you mean it? You know — and will stand by me — 
will care for me in my hour of need? How good you are! and 
I don't deserve it." 

"Dear, what are friends for? what are they worth if they 
do not stand true to each other in rain or shine? Why, to 
know that you are in trouble and need me draws me closer to 
you with bands of love." 

"Oh, how blind to your goodness I have been! I have felt 
for some time that I ought to tell you all about myself and how 
I came to leave New York, but I have not the moral courage, 
and felt that I must leave you. But believe me, I may have 
been very foolish and indiscreet, but have never been guilty of 
anything — " she paused in confusion. 

"Say no more, Mrs. Gray — nothing could change our love 
for you," declared Mrs. Bruner warmly. "No indeed," added 
Hazel. 

"Bless you both ! How grateful I am — how very fortunate 
I have been. Surely a kind Providence must have directed my 
footsteps and led me to you ! And I thought I must leave you. 
Oh, Mrs. Brunei*, ever since you read the beautiful story of 



204 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

Ruth some time ago, my heart has been crying out to you in 
her words, 'Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from fol- 
lowing after thee'." 

"Finish the verse dear — speaking from your heart," softly 
urged Mrs. Bruner, "and say: 'and thy God, shall be my God'." 

"I wish I could — I am trying," humbly, then abruptly she 
sprang up, "Good night, dear friends, till tomorrow." And 
she went hurriedly to her room, leaving mother and daughter 
seated on the steps. 

CHAPTER XI 

"We only feel the pain His chastenings give; 
The sharp incisions only can we see. 
And He alone, by whom we move and live, 
He sees the hidden glory that shall be." 

In the privacy of her own room, Dosia knelt at the open 
window, and gazed as if entranced at the beautiful full moon 
now high in the heavens and bathing the earth in glorious, 
silvery radiance. Unconsciously she quoted a verse of scripture 
she had heard Mrs. Bruner read : 

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament 
showeth His handiwork." Yes, there really was a God, and 
it must be as Mrs. Evans declared — he was having the angels 
to guard her. How good Mrs. Bruner was to want to keep 
and care for her! What would Jack do and say if he knew? — 
and she might die — what then? — and perhaps leave a mother- 
less little child to — oh. she could not bear to think! What must 
she do? Again there rang in her ears that insult that was be- 
yond pardon: "God! with out a mighty reformation in your 
character, you should never have charge of a child of mine." 
But hadn't she reformed? When she had left Jack in anger, 
she had determined to say good bye to the past — to forget it 
all and live free as the birds. Why was it that she had felt no 
inclination for "society?" How was it that she now hated 
the things she once loved? When had she awakened to a reali- 
zation of the dangerous path she was treading? Was it when 
in the solitude of that Washington hotel she had read Jack's 
penitent and loving note? Or was it when she had found that 
DuBoise had followed her? She did not know — she only knew 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 205 

that she was miserable oh, so miserable, in spite of these good 
and kind friends. 

Did she wish to return to Jack? If everything turned 
out well — if she should survive the coming ordeal and the little 
child should live, would it not be her plain, positive and im- 
perative duty to see that it had its rights as Jack's child? But 
no, ten thousand times no! Jack should never know — she 
would never forgive him the terrible insults he had heaped 
upon her, no never ! Poor girl ! when love began to plead, she 
always called pride to the rescue. 

"Whatever can be the matter with me? I don't want to 
go back to New York — I could never forgive Jack and he 
could never forgive me for running away and bringing disgrace 
to his name. No * but what is it that so fills my soul with un- 
utterable longing? Am I, thirsting after 'righteousness'? 
Then why am I not 'filled?' as the scriptures promises. Poor 
misguided girl. How could peace and rest come to one whose 
heart was bitter and unforgiving? She had yet to learn that 
God will "forgive our trespasses as (just like) we forgive 
those who trespass against us." 

She opened her diary and wrote till far into the night, and 
it was early morning ere the great sad brown eyes were closed 
in sleep. 

Next day was Sunday. The girls and Tom went to church, 
but Mrs. Mrs. Brunei* was a little indisposed, and remained at 
home with Dosia, and they were very happy together, for all 
Dosia's haughty reserve was gone. 

She even showed Jack's picture to the good woman, who 
declared positively she had never looked upon a more hand- 
some face, and did not wonder that Dosia should be heart 
broken, for he must have been a noble man with those stead- 
fast eyes and firm lips. 

Dosia was almost ready to lay bare every secret of her 
heart, when they were interrupted by the return of the girls 
and Tom. 

Tom, boy like, came to the dining room at once and took 
a seat near Dosia, who was watching Mrs. Bruner with in- 
terest as she put dinner on the table, chatting cheerfully all 
the while. 

"Mama, Hazel joined the church today," remarked Tom. 

"Did she?" eagerly. "Well, I thought she would, from a 



206 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

talk we had last night. I am sure she has been genuinely con-, 
verted. I am so glad she is satisfied — she was a little doubtful 
last night," and there was a happy smile on the mother's face 
far more eloquent than words. After a few moments silence 
Tom changed the subject: 

"Mama, have you any stamps on hand? I didn't know I 
was out — and I have some letters to mail," taking a bunch of 
letters from his pocket with an air of importance. 

"I think I have a few. I declare, Tom, you will soon have 
to buy a type writer and get a corresponding secretary — won't 
you?" laughing. "Why, dear," turning to Dosia, "he gets more 
mail than all of us put together. He quit cigarettes ,so he 
would have money for stamps, and mercy me! there's no tell- 
ing how much his stationery costs." 

Dosia smiled appreciatively and Tom became confidential: 

"I've got two more pretty girls to add to my collection," 
taking two little penny photos from his pocket and holding 
them out to Dosia. 

"Those are pretty, certainly," she said, "whose are they 
Tom?" 

"Oh, now, I mustn't tell that," laughed Tom teasingly. 

"You spoke of a collection; how many have you?" 

"Oh, about a quart." 

"Mercy! a quart of those little stamp photographs?" 

"He's been collecting them nearly a year and gets them 
nearly every day, I think," chimed in Mrs. Bruner. "Isn't he 
terrible to be so young? Sometimes I catch him with them 
spread all over the bed, and he looking at them so earnestly, 
that I wonder if he is selecting a future daughter-in-law for 
me." 

"You see, Mrs. Gray, — it's this way; there's a page for 
young folks in a little magazine I take, and through that, we 
get acquainted by mail, exchange pictures and correspond, and 
do other things for pleasure and mutual benefit. Some want 
scenery, and by exchanging kodak pictures, we learn a lot 
about places we have never seen." 

"But you make a specialty of pretty faces?" 

"Oh, I'm not the only kid that's doing the same. But 
honest, now, the snap shot I took of you and Hazel last July 
is the prettiest I have seen. A fellow in Ohio is making a col- 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 207 

lection of girls who have brown hair and eyes. He offers a 
prize for the prettiest photo — or for a photo of the prettiest 
girl, and I've been tempted to send him yours and Hazel's." 

"Oh, no Tom, please don't do that. We should not want 
a stranger to have our pictures," objected Dosia. Tom raised 
a pair of half frightened eyes: "Why not? It could do no 
harm — and that ten dollar prize would be mine. You'd surely 
win it," in confusion. 

"But you musn't think of such a thing, Tom," said his 
mother. 

"But, mama,' please tell me — would there be anything 
wrong or improper about it?" asked the boy. 

"Why, my son, there are lots of girls who couldn't bear 
for a likeness of theirs to be in the hands of a stranger. And 
then the fellow might be up to some mischief or villiany. 
Innocent girls are often drugged, kidnapped and forcibly con- 
fined in dreadful dens of vice for no other reason than that 
they are pretty and attractive." Tom's face grew pale and he 
gazed thoughtfully out at the window. Dosia, wishing to 
chase the cloud from his brow said softly; 

"I am not unmindful of the compliment you have paid 
me Tom, and I hope you don't think me silly." 

"I couldn't think any thing like that of you, Mrs. Gray. 
But I am sure James Alexander is a boy like myself, and is 
making the collection for fun and the interest of it." 

"Strange that only brown hair and eyes appeal to him," 
musingly. 

"Yes, but he explained that by saying his mother had 
brown eyes and hair — that she had been dead several years, 
and was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. That's 
why he is interested in no other colors." 

Lilly and Hazel now came in with their arms around each 
other making a lovely picture. Mrs. Bruner looked up with 
a bright smile of welcome, and Hazel came to her and quietly 
said : 

"I took the decisive step, mama, and am so happy — just 
as you said I'd be. I am sorry I didn't do it long ago." 

"Bless your heart, my daughter, you have made me re- 
joice today," was all that Mrs. Bruner could say, as she kissed 
Hazel tenderly. Then Hazel crossed over to Tom and Dosia, 



208 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

kissing each affectionately, but speaking not a word. 'Twas 
a sweet silent, sacred communion of hearts, and as they all 
gathered around the table, each felt impressed that this was 
a solemn occasion. . Mrs. Bruner returned thanks and asked a 
special blessing upon the new convert, and prayed that it might 
not be long before every member of the household, should find 
that peace which passeth all understanding. 

CHAPTER XII 

When dinner was over, Tom insisted on every one "get- 
ting out" and letting him clear the table and wash the dishes. 
And while thus engaged the poor boy was deep in miserable 
thought. The fact was, he had already sent that picture and 
now was oppressed by guilt and fear. What must he do? He 
hated deception, but if he should confess — what good could 
that do? That would not bring the pictures back — his mother 
would be angry, and Mrs. Gray grieved and all to no avail. 
Tom didn't believe that James Alexander was an adventurer, 
or that Mrs. Gray and Hazel were in danger of being kid- 
napped; but to think he had done something so against his 
mother's wishes and those of the sad, pale-faced little widow 
who looked as if she had had enough of trouble, made the poor, 
sensitive, tender hearted boy very miserable. Suddenly he 
had a bright idea. He would write to James Alexander and 
ask that the pictures be returned, explaining that his mother 
objected to a stranger having her daughter's picture. 

The letter was written and mailed that afternoon, and 
thus poor Tom played into the hands of Fate. 

Mrs. Bruner insisted that Dosia quit the mill, declaring 
that tight lacing would kill her, and that she must now lay 
pride aside for a time and take reason and common sense for 
her guides. Dosia listened to the good woman's advice, and 
now at the end of three weeks, had been a daily companion to 
Mrs. Bruner, and they learned to love each other more and 
more devotedly. It was about the middle of October that 
Dosia paid her board two months in advance and placed five 
hundred dollars in Mrs. Bruner's hands, asking her to see 
after everything — confessing her own ignorance concerning 
the things she should know. Mrs. Bruner gasped in astonish- 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 209 

merit. She had supposed that Dosia only had what she had 
saved the past four months. 

But she was too well bred to ask questions, even when 
Dosia directed her to spare no expense, declaring that the 
money should be forthcoming. Dosia also placed a large sealed 
package in the good woman's hand saying: 

"If I die, break this seal and follow directions inside. This 
contains my will and some letters — also my diary, with full 
directions how to proceed. If I live, keep this package till I 
am able to receive it again." And Mrs. Bruner, puzzled and 
amazed, sacredly promised. 

As time passed on, uneventfully in this quiet home, Dosia 
became more and more despondent and a look in her pale face 
was almost enough to melt one to tears. Dr. Ross came almost 
daily, declaring her to be in perfect health and trying in many 
ways to cheer her shrinking spirit. Dosia felt that she must 
die and was almost glad. In vain they tried to cheer her — 
tried to banish these morbid ideas — but she invariably re- 
plied, "I'm almost sure I shall die." 

In the meantime, Tom had been looking now for several 
days for a letter from James Alexander. But not a word, not 
a line, had he received, and here it was the middle of Novem- 
ber, and beautiful weather. It was cold during the mornings, 
but pleasant in the afternoons and one evening Mrs. Bruner 
and Dosia were "sunning" on the front porch, and looking 
over the daily papers, when a country boy came bashfully 
up the walk, a large bundle under one arm and a basket of 
apples on the other. He wore plain coarse shoes, blue over- 
alls and a large slouched hat pulled well over his face, as if 
ashamed of his freckles. 

"Do ye want some apples, ma'am?" speaking to Mrs. 
Bruner. "Only fifteen cents a dozen," in a cracked voice and 
sinking to a seat on the steps as Mrs. Bruner examined the 
fruit. His back was to Dosia, and the big hat almost com- 
pletely hid him, but she could see from the quick way he 
breathed that the boy was very tired. 

"Why, these are fine," exclaimed Mrs. Bruner, "what do 
you ask for the whole basket? I see you are tired and I'll take 
them all." 

"I dunno — I reckin they's worth a quarter," stupidly. 



210 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

"I'll give you half a dollar." And she took the money 
from her pocket and paid him and asked him to pour the apples 
in her apron. 

"Thanky, ma'am, an' good bye," said the boy as he took 
the money in a dirty freckled hand and shuffled away. Mrs. 
Bruner counted the apples and found that she had four and a 
half dozen, and was sorry she had not paid the boy more. 

"I think he really needed it," she said regretfully, looking 
down the street in the direction he had gone. 

"Most people would have paid him a quarter and bragged 
over the bargain, I think," remarked Dosia seriously. 

"Yes, perhaps; but I always wish to do the right thing, 
and if I make a mistake, it is of the head and not the heart." 
And Dosia found much food for reflection in the answer. Her 
mistakes had all been of the head she thought. If she had lis- 
tened to the promptings of her heart and better nature, life 
would not be a burden now. But it was too late. 

The boy was out of sight and soon was in an empty car 
box near the depot, hurriedly shedding the overalls and 
slouched hat, and taking a nice suit, including hat, collar and 
tie from the huge bundle he carried, wiping the dirt from his 
face and hands before coming out, looking altogether a differ- 
ent creature. He put his finger to his lips and gave a sharp 
whistle, and attracted the attention of a colored boy in rags, 
who came forward hesitatingly : 

"Look inside here, nigger, and you will find a good pair 
of shoes and some overalls." 

"Thankee sir, thankee sir. Nobody won't run me in if I get 
'em, boss?" half fearfully. 

"No — they were mine," and there was a triumphant ring 
in the boy's voice. His hands trembled with excitement and 
a joyous light was shining in the deep blue eyes. Under his 
breath he was ejaculating: 

"Ope whiz! Glory to Moses! Golly! I'm it! That lub- 
ber heal shall have his picture back and the prize shall be 
doubled. What do I want with that little old picture when I'm 
going to have the glorious original? Well, I'll be confounded! 
Ain't this a slick piece of work? Nick Carter himself couldn't 
have done the thing slicker. Whoopee! wish I could stand on 
my head! But good Lord! what must I do next? I have no 
idea where to find my boss In an asylum somewhere apt as 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 2ll 

not; but he said when I left him that he was thinking of run- 
ning back to New York to see Dr. Brown. I know — I'll tele- 
graph Dr. Brown and he will know what to do. Gee! don't 
I wish I could break the news to him myself." And our own 
Jimmie Carter — James Alexander Carter — was soon in 
Wright's hotel where he already had a room, and was cutting 
all kind of antics, and trying to word a telegram to Dr. Brown. 

He wrote and re-wrote but at last decided on the follow- 
ing: 

"The lost is found but doesn't know it. Under the cir- 
cumstances I am afraid to approach her. Bring Mr. Jack. 

"Jimmie Carter." 

That was on Wednesday. Jimmie knew that if Jack 
should happen to be in New York and with Dr. Brown, it would 
be at least Saturday afternoon before they could reach Co- 
lumbia. In the meantime he would pass the time as best he 
could, viewing the city. 

He went to moving picture shows, to the theatre, and to 
the park; he rode, read, ate and slept, but still time dragged. 
Thursday night he received an answer to his telegram : 

"Jack just arrived. Not well but able to travel. Get there 
Saturday nisrht. 

"Brown." 

Friday Jimmie visited the cotton mills ; he walked all 
through the weave-room where Tom and Hazel worked. He 
soon saw Hazel and knew her by the picture he had of her. 
He saw Tom, and knew him by his likeness to Hazel, and as he 
passed Tom's looms he tipped his hat and smiled, leaving Tom 
puzzled, and wondering who he could be. 

The mills always shut down at noon on Saturday, till 
Monday. And on this particular Saturday, when the girls and 
Tom went home, they found the Doctor's automobile standing 
in the front yard, the dinner was not done, and everything 
seemingly in confusion. 

Lilly and Hazel looked at each other with pale faces and 
wide frightened eyes. Tom gave a low whistle of dismay, but 
no one spoke a word. The girls finished dinner, and Mrs. 
Bruner ran down to tell them to hurry and dress and go to 
their uncles — all of them. 

There was a whispered consultation between the mother 



212 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

and daughters, and Tom waylaid the little woman as she 
started upstairs : 

"Mother, maybe— perhaps — do— do you think you won't 
need me for anything? I'll stay around in hearing if — if I can 
be of any service." 

"No, dear — you are very thoughtful, but I'd rather you 
would go with your sisters. And don't any of you return till I 
send for you." 

"All right, mother; but — is — is she all right?" anxiously. 

"Oh, yes,. the doctor and nurse say so," she smiled. "And, 
Tom, I forgot to tell you — there are several letters on the hall 
table for you. Now hurry away, and if you go to town tonight, 
don't stay late." 

"No, mother, I won't," and Tom went after his mail and 
walked out on the front porch to examine it while waiting for 
his sisters. 

He noticed one addressed in a large free boyish hand, that 
made his heart leap. A letter from Jas. Alexander! But ah! 
it was mailed that very day and right there in Columbia! 
What could it mean? He would see, and without further par- 
ley he broke the seal: 

"Dear Mr. Tom Bruner: 

"I have come in person to see you and to return your pic- 
tures and pay you the prize which I promised. They are both 
really beautiful, but one is by far the most beautiful face I 
have ever seen. Come to the Union depot this afternoon at 
about five o'clock, and keep mum concerning our business. 
Don't mention it to a soul, if you value your future happiness. 
I have much to say to you, but will defer it till we meet. Do 
not fail me. This is important. James Alexander." 

Tom turned white with dismay. James Alexander in Co- 
lumbia on purpose to see him and wanted to see him secretly. 
What could it mean? Was it just a ruse to get him away from 
home so that the girls might be kidnapped? 

But now the girls came out hurriedly and excitedly, call- 
ing him to "come on," for it was going to sleet or snow ere 
long, it had turned so cold and was cloudly, with the wind com- 
ing from the North. 

Tom shoved the letter in his pocket, and silently followed 
the girls. It was now after two o'clock. He would see his sis- 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 213 

ters safely to their uncle's, and then he would bruise around, 
sharpen his wits and his knife, and be ready for any emer- 
gency. Tom was glad that the girls were going to where two 
big and ferocious bull dogs ran loose on the grounds which sur- 
rounded the house. He smiled grimly as he thought of what 
any one's fate would be who attempted to go unattended 
through his uncle's gates. 

When they reached the front gate Tom said: 

"Now, girls, whatever you do, don't come out — don't go 
anywhere until I return to escort you." 

"You courteous brother; but of course we shall not go 
anywhere at all. We will remain here till mama sends for us," 
said Lilly. 

"That we will," affirmed Hazel. 

"Well, bye bye, then ; I'll get supper at a lunch room, and 
will not be out late. Be good, and don't worry," and he kissed 
his hand to them gaily, and walked away, with a curious pain 
at his heart 

CHAPTER XIII 

At the appointed hour, Tom approached the Union depot, 
his heart in his throat and his eyes restlessly searching the im- 
mense crowd for a mysterious person whom he longed yet 
dreaded to see. 

He wondered how on earth they should meet and know 
each other and mentally decided that James Alexander was a 
"blamed fool," Presently as he was going up the broad steps 
into the waiting room, a nicely dressed, pleasant faced, red- 
headed boy ran after him, and touched his arm : 

"Why, hello, Tom! Glad to see you, old boy. Shake!" 
raising his hat, holding out a friendly hand and smiling joy- 
ously. 

"Sure," said Tom, greatly puzzled, but grasping the out- 
stretched hand and doffing his cap. "But you have the advan- 
tage — I certainly don't have the least idea whom I have the 
pleasure of shaking." 

"What? Didn't you get my letter this morning?" Was 
sure you had come in answer. Tom's mouth and eyes were 
open. He gasped. 

"What— who— you?" 

"James Alexander at your service. But come down here 



214 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

to a quiet spot where we can talk," pulling Tom's arm through 
his own and walking to the other end of the platform where it 
was more deserted. 

"You were in the mill the other day — " 
"Yes, and knew you at once by the photo of your sister," 
laughed Jimmie. 

I'm here on purpose to get that photo," said Tom, stffly. 
"You shall have it. Gee! Tom Bruner, you don't know 
how I appreciate what you have done for me. Do you know 
your fortune is made? Why, boy, you are sure to get a cool 
thousand for helping me out in the neatest little piece of detec- 
tive work that ever was accomplished." Tom turned white and 
looked squarely into Jimmie's happy face. 

"What in thunder do you mean?" he demanded sharply. 
"I will tell you. By sending me this picture," (handing it 
to Tom) you have been instrumental in the hands of a kind 
Providence in helping to reunite a loving husband and wife." 
Tom grasped the picture eagerly and twenty dollars were 
pressed into his hand at the game time. 

"Take back your money — I don't want it! And you won't 
get me mixed up in your blamed spying business, either," hotly. 
"What do you mean anyhow? — what have I done?" indignant, 
but curious. 

"Easy, Tom, easy. You'll keep that money, and you'll get 
a lot more before the show is over. Who is the lady boarding 
at your house? — Bet you don't know!" 

"I do, too ; she is Mrs. Dosia Gray, the" sweetest, saddest 
little widow in the whole wide world," looking gingerly at the 
money he held. 

"Yes, Mrs. Theodosia Gray Arlington, a rich woman and 
wife of Mr. Jack Arlington of New York, a wealthy lawyer, 
and my beloved employer. What's she staying and working in 
a mill town for beats my eye." Tom clenced his fists and 
growled : 

"See here, if you have tracked that little woman down and 
try to bother her, the dickens will be to pay and — " 

"Hold on Tom, not so fast; she will be glad to see her hus- 
band — the best man that ever lived. If any two people ever 
loved each other they did, and still do. Mr. Jack's suffered ten 
thousand deaths since she left him and has spent thousands on 
top of thousands, trying to find her. I know all about it, Tom, 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 215 

for I have been with Mr. Jack for several years, and know that 
she will be just as glad as he is, to be reconciled." 

"What did she leave him for? — and where is he now?" 

"Jealousy. She was a flirt." 

"Don't you lay the blame on her," said Tom angrily. 

"Oh, no. Mr. Jack says he alone was to blame, and he's 
ready — been ready every since their quarrel, — to eat dirt and 
make all kind of apoligies," declared Jimmie good humoredly. 
Mr. Jack will be in on the next train, to carry her back home," 
enjoying Tom's discomfiture. 

"Well, I guess not!" remarked Tom drily. 

"How do you propose to prevent it?" curiously. 

"I haven't got a darned thing to do with it; but golly! 
there was a big doctor and a fine nurse at home when I left, 
and — and — a stork sailing over the house," grinning. 

"Geemimy! you don't say so! Now ain't that a rum-go? 
The finest doctor in New York is coming, with Mr. Jack. Lord 
have mercy! Maybe they won't get to see her tonight at all! 
It'll just kill Mr. Jack if he has to wait, too," and Jimmie gave 
a prolonged whistle. "Well, I'll be doggone!" Jimmed looked 
at his watch. 

"It's half an hour till their train comes, so I'll tell you 
everything about it When I offered a prize for the prettiest 
photo, it was with the hope of getting one of Mrs. Arlington's. 
I knew she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, and 
I thought maybe my prize would induce some kid to take a 
snap shot at her, if he should happen to see her. I had given 
up getting a clue that way, though, for I had received in the 
past two months over three thousand pictures. Then I got 
your letter, and pictures, and my heart stood still when I saw 
the face I had been looking for. 

Then I read your letter, found that you were all mill peo- 
ple — you said 'these girls weave in — Cotton Mill' — and my 
hopes fell. I was satisfied that it was just a chance likeness, 
for I never one time thought of such a thing as Mrs. Arlington 
stopping in a mill village, much less working in a mill. The 
more I looked at the picture, the more difference I could find 
in it and Mrs. Arlington. The face was too sad and melan- 
choly, and the eyes did not have the same joyous expression. 
I never thought of the difference trouble could make, and dis- 
missed the whole thought from my mind. Mr. Jack was speak- 



216 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

ing of returning to New York, when I received your second let- 
ter, demanding the return of the pictures, in such a way as 
made me suspicious. You wrote, that your mother, sister, and 
all concerned objected to a stranger having them. You did not 
say, "sisters, so I began to wonder which was your sister, and 
who was the other. It was a small clue, and seemed an im- 
possibility, but I could not bear to let it slip without an inves- 
tigation. I would not mention it to Mr. Jack, for I knew bet- 
ter then to raise hopes which must in all probability be dashed 
to the ground. I couldn't get the idea out of my head. Some- 
thing urged me forward, and I asked Mr. Jack to give me ten 
days leave of absence, as I wanted to visit a relative in Ashe- 
ville, N.C. 

He was surprised, but gave me seventy-five dollars, and 
told me to wire him if I needed more. Oh, he is the best man 
living! He had an invitation to go out in the country on a 
hunting trip, and I begged him to accept, which he did, saying 
that when he was tired of it, he would run back to New York 
for a day or two — something he hasn't done since he left to 
search for his wife. You ought to have seen how he hated to 
part with me, even for ten days. He said when he saw me off : 
"Jimmie, I'm sure she isn't down that way, but keep your eyes 
open, and if you get the least clue let me know. But, oh, I have 
about decided that my darling is dead." 

"Then he said, 'Jimmy, I don't know how I'm going to 
stand it without you. But I know you are tired of being tied to 
such an old glum and silent, sorrowful man. Have a good time 
while you are gone, but don't staj T over ten days my boy, for 
you are all I have.' I tell you Tom, that went to my heart — 
and me deceiving him that way. 

"I got to Columbia last Tuesday night, and engaged a 
room at Wright's Hotel. Then I bruised around till I found 
your address, and L diked up in a country-boy outfit, took a 
basket of apples and went to your house and sold them to one 
of the sweetest little gray-haired women I ever laid eyes on." 

"My mother," murmured Tom in astonishment. 

"And I got a good look at Mrs. Arlington, and knew her, 
but took good care she didn't have a good view of my freckled 
face." Jimmie laughed. "Tom, I felt like shouting 'Halle- 
luyer!' I don't know how I kept from giving myself away, but 
— er — you see — I — under the circumstances — I was almost 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 217 

skeered to death for her — seeing how she was. I didn't know 
what to do, but to lie low till her doctor and Mr. Jack come. 
You may bet I lost no time sending a telegram to Doctor 
Brown, who has been trying to help Mr. Jack to find\ his wife, 
and always knows just where to find the poor fellow. 

"The other day when I walked through the mill and saw 
you, I just wanted to stop and hug you for what you had done. 
I was just crazy to tell you everything, but didn't know how 
you would take it, and thought I'd not run any risk till too late 
for you to kick. But old boy, you'll be happy as I am when 
you see the good you have done." 

Tom looked excited and interested : "Gee ! you are up to 
Nick Carter ain't you? And you are just a boy like me. My!" 
Jimmie laughed : 

. "That reminds me — my name is Carter. Alexander is 
just my middle name. And Tom, you and I are going to be the 
best of friends." 

"Yes. that we will, if everything turns out as you expect," 
replied Tom, half doubtfully. 

Above the noise and bustle of the busy city, sounded the 
distant whistle of a locomotive. Jimmie sprang up eagerly: 

"That's their train ! and oh, Lord, help poor Mr. Jack if 
he has to wait still longer! How can I tell him? Tom you've 
got to help me break the news. I'm afraid he can't stand it. 
Lord ! I'm glad Doctor Brown is coming." And Jimmie pulled 
Tom's arm through his own again, and hurried out on the 
yard, both trembling with excitement. 

"I don't want anything more to do with this," demurred 
Tom. "I'll never get over it if harm comes to Mrs. Gray — 
and by ginger, if harm does come to her, somebody will get 
hurt— that's all!" 

"Pshaw! Stop croaking and rejoice, I tell you. You'll 
be happy when you understand." As the train pulled in Tom 
found himself infected with Jimmie's eagerness, and anxiously 
watching for — he knew not whom. 

"There they are!" and Jimmie, pushing and shoving right 
and left, and pulling Tom along with him, made his way to a 
tall, broadshouldered, pale-faced but very handsome man, who, 
arm in arm with portly, merry-eyed, jolly-faced old gentleman, 
was slowly wending his way toward the station, each glancing 
eagerly right and left for Jimmie's red head and freckled face. 



21S FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

"Here I am, Mr. Jack," spoke Jimmie, hurrying to his be- 
loved friend who caught him by both hands and bent eagerly 
forward to gaze in the honest blue eyes. 

"Jimmie, my boy! where is she?" in a low tense voice. 
Tom's heart was at once captured and the tears almost came 
to his eyes. 

"She's all right, Mr. Jack, and doesn't know that she is 
found, so don't worry — wait a little longer. How are you doc- 
tor? This is my friend, Mr. Tom Bruner, Doctor Brown — Mr. 
Arlington," introducing Tom — "the gentleman to whom we 
owe this . happy occasion," added Jimmie graciously. 

"I'm all in the dark, but God bless you, Mr. Bruner," said 
Jack, warmly shaking hands. The doctor, too, was very much 
pleased with Tom. 

"Supper is ready for us — it is past six — so we will go up 
to the hotel and I'll tell you everything I know, and leave the 
rest to you and the doctor." said Jimmie. 

"Supper? Good God! Jimmie, you talk to me about sup- 
per? Take me to her! Every moment is an eternity!" groan- 
ed Jack, forgetting the crowd. 

"But, Mr. Jack," cautioned Jimmie, "you must not rush 
on her so unexpectedly. She couldn't bear the shock. For her 
sake, be patient, and — and — after you understand you will be 
glad, and will follow the advice of good Doctor Brown. Doc- 
tor Brown glanced inquiringly at Jimmie. 

"Jimmie! is she ill?" cried Jack almost wildly. 

"Now, just look how you jump at conclusions; I saw her 
yesterday and she was the very picture of health," Jimmie 
had led the way to a carriage while speaking, and giving the 
doctor a look of appeal and entreaty, they persuaded the half 
distracted man to enter it. 

"Hop in Tom, you are going to take supper with us." 

"No, I thank you,— I—" 

"Come right on, now, Tom, — you must. I need you," and 
Tom, who really did wish to go, sprang in with. Jimmie, feel- 
ing that he was having a finger in this "pie," and hoping that 
everything would indeed turn out best for the little woman at 
home. 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 219 

CHAPTER XIV. 

Pretty soon they were all in Wright's Hotel, where Jimmy 
had already engaged rooms for them, and were soon listening 
eagerly to Jimmie's account of his "detective" work. He wound 
up by saying: 

"And I found that the picture really was hers — and I found 
her — but she is not weaving at present," 

"Good heavens! weaving? my beautiful Theo — an heiress 
in her own right — my wife, weaving! Working in a cotton mill 
for a living?" and Jack sprang to his feet. "She must have lost 
her money, poor child," his lips quivering pietously. "Oh, for 
God's sake, hurry and let me go to her. She must not stay 
there another hour. In a factory town and weaving, God!" 

Tom's face flushed; he felt that the man was one of those 
who "looked down" on mill people, and he spoke indignantly: 

"Sir, she is with my mother, a perfect lady if there ever 
was one, and my sisters are the equal of any queen. Any in- 
sinuations or slurs cast at factory people touch a tender spot 
with me." 

"Pardon, my boy, I meant no wrong — I know there are 
good people everywhere — but my darling never worked a 
moment in her life before, and oh, to think that she toiled, slaved, 
rather than come back to me — or ask my help, when I would 
so gladly have died for her !" 

"I don't think she needed to work sir, but did it from choice 
— to pass off time. She was happier when busy," said Tom. 

"And she was unhappy, too. Poor little proud Theo, to 
think of her tender white hands being blistered and bruised 
with toil. Take me to her — what are you waiting for?" reaching 
for his hat with an air of determination. Jimmie had been 
whispering something to the doctor, whose jolly red face became 
serious and pale. 

Laying a restraining hand on Jack's arm, the doctor now 
spoke gravely : 

"Jack, do you remember that Jimmie's telegram said, 'under 
the circumstances' he was afraid to make another move? And 
do you remember what Theo said to you — the question she so 
timidly asked you during your last interview?" The doctor 
looked squarely into Jacks face. "Don't you understand?" 

" 'Under the circumstances,' Jimmie said. Doctor ! Good 



220 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

God! what do you mean? My darling's question rings in my 
ears day and night. What do you mean? Why don't you take 
me to her? Speak! I will not wait longer," and they saw that 
he was indeed desperate and half mad with impatience. 

Jimmie looked at Tom appealingly, but he shrank back 
bashfully. Then Jimmie, throwing an arm around Jack's neck 
affectionately, drew his head down and whispered: 

"Oh, Mr. Jack, Tom says when he left the house that there 
was a big doctor and a nurse with her, and — and — a stork 
sailing around," and Jack stared with white face and despairing 
eyes into Jimmie's face, then looked at the doctor as if unable to 
comprehend ; then sinking helplessly into the chair that Tom 
slipped under him, he groaned in anguish: 

"God forgive me — oh, God, forgive me! I drove her away 
— dear little woman — oh, I can't bear this suspense, doctor ! We 
must go to her. You are her doctor, — I am her husband — what 
if she should die and never know that we had come?" 

Jimmie was watching Jack with much concern and anxiety. 
Tom was idly drumming on the window pane and looking out 
through the window, torn with conflicting emotions. What 
would his mother think of or say to him about the part he had 
played in this? The doctor spoke again : 

"Jack, if you will promise to do nothing rash — if you will 
be guided by reason and common sense, we will go and see 
where she lives and perhaps we can manage to hear how she is 
— but we can't intrude, now you know that." 

"I'll promise anything — only let me see where she lives — 
let me see the roof that shelters my darling — let me know she 
is not dead." 

Jimmie turned to Tom eagerly: 

"Perhaps you could manage to see your mother quietly, 
and slip out to us with the latest news? Don't you think so?" 

"I might — but — yes, I'll do anything I can for Mr. Arling- 
ton," as he saw the man's agonized look of appeal. 

So not waiting for supper, the four went out and boarded 
a car, which, after going many crooks and curves, dropped 
them in the mill town near the "Company Store," from which 
they walked, indifferent to the fact that a cold north wind 
accompanied by a chilling drizzle, had set in as if for the night. 
Tom and Jimmie silently led the way, the doctor and Jack as 
silently following, each busy with a multitude of thoughts and 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 221 

wild conjectures. Ever and anon, Jack would shiver violently, 
but not from the cold. The brilliant electric lights, defying wind, 
rain and darkness, twinkled brightly; and when in the distance 
Jack saw a huge automobile standing before one of the best 
residences he knew intuitively that he was nearing the place of 
his loved one. 

Just as he surmised, Tom and Jmmie paused in the shadow 
of a great evergreen tree, and : 

"Here's the place," spoke Tom cautiously. "Now if you will 
all remain here quietly, I will go around the back way and try 
and see mama." Weak, nervous and apprehensive, Jack leaned 
against the tree for support. 

"Go! and for God's sake come back as quickly as you can," 
he whispered, hoarsely. 

In silent sympathy Jimmie crouched on a projecting root, 
and occasionally spoke encouragingly and hopefully to the suffer- 
ing man. Presently Tom returned, walking rapidly: 

"I just thought I'd come and tell you that I heard — heard 
a — something squalling like forty in there!" Jack sprang for- 
ward excitedly and caught the boy by his shoulders. 

"And my wife — how is she?" eagerly, and tremulously. 

"I didn't see any one, sir, but I heard the murmur of cheer- 
ful voices and am sure she is all right." 

"Tom, please go back and find out something!" pleaded Jack. 

"Yes, my boy,' do," added the doctor. "And have your 
mother send that doctor out to us soon as possible, so we can 
hear from him how everything is," and Tom again disappeared 
around the house. 

It was perhaps twenty minutes — a lifetime, it seemed to 
Jack, ere Tom returned with a happy smile on his face, eagerly 
and cautionsly whispering : 

"It's a boy! And she is 0. K. mama said." Jack bared his 
head and looked up through the dark clouds and with faith in 
a beautiful future, he reverently exclaimed: 

"My God! I thank Thee! I praise and bless Thy Holy 
name, for all thy many rich and undeserved mercies. Hence- 
forth, my life shall be an expression of love and gratitude to 
Thee. Father, accept me !" 

"Amen!" spoke the doctor brokenly, as he grasped Jack's 
hand. Tom continued: 

"Mama already knew about you, Mr. Arlington, and said 



222 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

your wife had declared several times that she felt you were 
near — though of course she doesn't know it. And that before 
going to sleep your wife was not too much exhausted to be deeply 
interested in the baby, and she kissed it murmuring: "My 
precious little one! Don't we wish papa knew," and then she 
kissed your picture, and fell asleep with it on the pillow by 
her cheek. The tears were now rolling down Jack's face and 
it was with difficulty that they kept him from rushing into the 
house. 

Dr. Ross came out and was introduced all around. His 
opinion of the patient was gratifying, and he said if she rested 
well till morning, the nurse should break the news of Jack's 
arrival, and let him into the room. 

She had cried out for "Jack" more than once that evening, 
and had confessed her identity to the doctor and Mrs. Bruner, 
feeling that death was near and she must not die unforgiving 
and unloving. 

"I was going to assume the responsibility of sending you 
a telegram, soon as I reached my office," said Dr. Ross to Jack. 
"How glad I am that it is not .necessary, and that the dear 
little woman's troubles are over. I'm sure you can see her early 
in the morning, Mr. Arlington, without fear of the excitement 
having a bad effect. Joy seldom kills." 

Jack went meekly back to the hotel, like one in a dream, 
but Doctor Brown' found it necessary to give him an opiate ere 
he closed his eyes in sleep. 

Next morning poor Jack knelt by his wife's bed, and laid his 
head on her pillow, pleading 'in broken tones for pardon, ere 
he so much as touched her hand. 

"Darling, I can never forgive myself," he cried. "But I 
plead for my life — I cannot live without you." 

"Oh, Jack! my precious boy, I alone was to blame — I have 
known it a long time — but would not confess it. I was haunted 
by what you said — but — I have reformed, indeed I have, dear, 
— and we will both together have charge of him, and may God 
help us to bring our little man up in the way he should go," 
and a slender white hand tried feebly to raise the bowed head. 

Tenderly Jack gathered the frail figure in his arms and 
rained tears and loving kisses on the sweet pale face, far more 
beautiful than it had been before chastened by sorrow. 

Then Jack wanted to see "the boy" and the nurse brought 



FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 223 

the little bundle of ribbon and lace from the next room and laid 
him in his father's arms. Jack was too full for wards, but the 
rapt expression on his face was far more eloquent, and he was 
never so happy as at that moment. 

Doctor Brown was waiting impatiently in the parlor, but 
thinking they had forgotten him, he ascended the stairs, clearing 
his throat and coughing, to anounce his coming. 

"Can he come in darling?" asked Jack, still holding the 
baby. 

"Of course he can," smiled Theo, brightly. "My dear old 
doctor." And the nurse opened the door and the good man 
walked in cheerfully: 

"Bless my life! if you haven't played a trick on us — you 
sly puss!" stooping to kiss her cheek. "My! my! I have never 
been so surprised nor so pleased. All things work together for 
good — didn't I always say so? And say, now Jack, arn't you 
happier than you could have been under any other circum- 
stances? Come, 'fess up !' Haven't 'these light afflictions' worked 
out for you a greater happiness?" and he took the baby from 
Jack going to the window to look at him. 

"Light afflictions indeed," smiled Jack, bending over Theo 
"But darling, I am so happy that I can't realize just now, how 
much I have suffered." The nurse and doctor were busy with 
the baby and did not notice that two white arms were twined 
around Jack's neck, and the affectionate words he had pleaded 
for in his note and longed for months to hear, were whispered 
in his ear : 

"My own, precious, darling boy!" 

But why prolong the story ? Tom, instead of being reproved, 
was looked upon as a kind of hero and benefactor, and in spite 
of his earnest protests, a thousand dollars were placed in the 
bank for him. Mrs. Bruner and the girls received numerous and 
magnificent presents, among them being a grand piano. 

On the last day of December, Jack and Theo returned to 
New York, in company with Jimmie, and none of their society 
friends ever knew but what they had just come back from their 
foreign tour! Doctor Brown had long since returned and was 
the first to welcome them home, where the servants had been 
notified to have everything in readiness. 

The following June the Rev. Harriss and Lilly Bruner were 
happily married. Mr. Stanford had continued to call occasion- 



224 FROM BALL ROOM TO WEAVE ROOM 

ally upon Hazel, but one day, with her dark eyes blazing with in- 
dignation, she quietly pointed him to the door and requested 
that he never call again. 

Theo did not fail to let Mrs. Evans know that she and Jack 
were again so happy, and Jack laughed heartily over the charac- 
teristic letter which she wrote, which began with "I told you so!" 

Mrs. Evans, Mrs. Bruner and Theo correspond regularly, 
DuBoise joined the U. S. army. Jimmie is still with "Mr. Jack," 
and Doctor Brown is never happier than when in the Christian 
home of the Arlingtons and playing with the boy.